P1 Teachers blamed for low grades As Marshallese students head back to school this week, the perennial question is being asked: Why are Marshallese students’ test scores still among the lowest in all of Micronesia? Does the problem center on the quality of teachers, as a number of education and curriculum officials argue? Or is it the curriculum, as many teachers say? A third factor, which has gained little mention is the impact on student program of active involvement by parents and the community at large.
P3 Maid in Majuro Fresh milk produced at the Delap Pacific Maid dairy factory can be had at most of Majuro’s retail stores these days. In addition, three flavors of ice cream are being made by the Danish-run plant.
P6 Riba practices what he preaches Bananas, papayas, taro, sweet potatoes and pumpkin besides breadfruit and a hearty coconut are coming up on Maloelap Atoll as a result of a recent agriculture program. Three men have been instrumental in the current agricultural progress: Ruben Rinon, the United Nations advisor, Riba Larry, R&D representative, and Peace Corps Volunteer James Toledano, the community development advisor.
P9 Seminar critiques Marshallese past, future economic potential Jesuit Brother Henry Schwalbenberg and Fr. Fran Hezel began a three-day workshop on Marshallese economic development this week.
P3 Busy, busy as NTA internet customers top 200 Have you been using the internet since NTA first opened service last year? Notice anything different these days? If you are one of the now 230 internet users in Majuro, you’ve found that frequently you get a busy signal when you dial up the internet — it may take anywhere from a minute to 10 or more frustrating minutes to get connect. That’s because for the more than 200 users there are just 16 lines available for internet connections.
P2 Fish HQ to be in Majuro Plans for establishing a new fisheries headquarters in Majuro by next year are on track, said MIMRA Director Glen Joseph, who is in Papua New Guinea this week discussing details of the plan with fisheries bosses from seven other Pacific islands. The eight Parties to the Nauru Agreement are flexing their muscles to get a larger share of the tuna “pie.” The PNA nations agreed earlier this year to set up their first secretariat with Majuro to host it.
P8 Migration leaves RMI with 54,065 The explosive population growth of the 1980s has been nearly reversed as a result of out-migration to the United States, suggest population figures release by the Economic Policy, Planning and Statistics Office last week. The Marshall Islands census in 1988 identified more than 42,000 people in RMI and a more than four percent annual rate of growth — one of the highest in the world at the time. Population was expected to double in less than 20 years. But with continuing strong migration to American, Marshall Islands population growth projections from the late 1980s have not been met. According to the Ministry of Health, about 1,500 babies are born annually (1,591 in 2007, 1,526 in 2008), while the annual death rate is about 300. Instead of seeing the population close to double the 1988 census figure today, EPPSO estimated the RMI population as of last year at 53,889.That number grew by just 176 people to 54,065 as of July 1 this year. Instead of the 1980s four percent growth rate, the Marshalls population is now growing at less than half a percent a year.
P21 Children need some attention Plastic bottles plug only some of the rat holes in the hallway walls.The ceiling in the children’s ward has gaping holes in places fully exposing the fiberglass insulation. In one room, old gauze pads plugged some of the holes in the ceiling, though the family still spent the night with their feet off the floor to avoid the rats. At our hospital, we have more rats houses in the children’s ward than children.