Marshall Islands

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Overview

The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands, is a nation in Micronesia of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. It is located north of Nauru and Kiribati, east of the Federated States of Micronesia, and south of the US territory of Wake Island, to which it lays claim. Its population is around 62,000 people. Its capital is Majuro (by some, called Delap).

Further information

For further general information see Wikipedia:Marshall Islands.

Education in Marshall Islands

For a general description of education in Marshall Islands see Education:Marshall Islands.


e-learning

For a description more focussed to e-learning see E-learning:Marshall Islands.


The University of the South Pacific (USP) offers a range of courses at its small campus on Majuro. A wide range of certificate, diploma and bachelor level programs are offered by the USP through Distance and Flexible Learning. Despite the range of courses on offer, USP enrolments in the RMI are relatively low. In 2008, enrolments totalled only 44 EFTS. Although most USP students in the RMI are currently from the main islands of Majuro and Ebeye, enrolments are increasing in the outer islands. The 2006 USPNet upgrade provided USP students at the Majuro Campus with improved access to audio and video-conferencing facilities. Students can now benefit from online learning materials on Moodle and a growing number of electronic resources hosted by the USP Library in Fiji. The history of distance education in the RMI effectively began in 1990, when the nation joined the USP consortium. The USP remained the major distance education provider during the next two decades. As a result of improving internet access, the College of the Marshall Islands intends to offer a range of distance education programs in the near future. In 2009, the Republic of the Marshall Islands announced its intention to join the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Oceania initiative. In recent years, the Hawai’i-based Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) has been a major provider of distance education programs to the Ministry of Education. PREL’s office in the Ministry of Education was linked to the PREL head office in Hawai’i through PEACESAT. The RMI is one of the US-aligned Pacific nations served by PEACESAT. The first PEACESAT earth-station in the Marshall Islands was established in 1997. Although the original reason for PEACESAT’s presence in the Marshall Islands was emergency management, the network was soon used to deliver distance education. In addition to the earth station at the Emergency Management Centre, there is now an earth station at the CMI. Over the last decade, PEACESAT has delivered a wide range of programs to students, educators and administrators in the Marshall Islands. In particular, a consortium of PEACESAT users has made extensive use of PEACESAT’s data and video-teleconferencing for clinical training in medicine and related fields. This consortium is currently the leading user of PEACESAT video-teleconferencing services for e-learning. The RMI Ministry of Education has also been a major user of PEACESAT. However, with the installation of the fibre-optic cable to Majuro and Ebeye in 2010, the future of PEACESAT in the RMI is unclear. (1)

In recent years, the Hawai’i-based Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) has been a major provider of distance education programs to the Ministry of Education. PREL’s office in the Ministry of Education was linked to the PREL head office in Hawai’i through PEACESAT. Although this convenient arrangement allows the Ministry to provide professional development training to its personnel, the result were not always ideal. The Ministry has found it difficult to retain staff trained in this manner. In the past, many of the technical staff trained by the Ministry through PREL were lost to the major ICT employer in the RMI, the Bank of the Marshall Islands. (3)

Quality procedures

Internet in Marshall Islands

Internet hosts (2010) - 3

Internet users (2008) - 2,200 (3)

Until very recently, Internet access in the Marshall Islands was expensive and unreliable. Bandwidth was a major problem. Even a major consumer of Internet services, such as the College of the Marshall Islands, had no more than a 64k link. This situation changed in 2010, when an underwater fibre-optic cable to Ebeye and Majuro began operation. This link provides both Ebeye and Majuro with reliable, high-speed access. (1)

Internet in Education

With the assistance of the Community After-School Recreational Education (CARE) program and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Majuro Middle School and all elementary schools on Majuro have access to the Internet and networking programs. Currently, most schools in Majuro and Ebeye have access to computers in the classroom. Two high schools on the outer islands, Jaluit and Wotje, also have access to computer facilities. For the most part, the computers are utilized with educational software by the instructors to assist students learning math, English, typing and word processing. Because there is no curriculum developed for ICT in grades K–12, the schools’ various computer facilities are used primarily as support for staff and other academic subjects. Any future development of ICT curriculum for the public schools will be designed, presented and implemented by the MOE. (2)

Copyright law in Marshall Islands

Copyright law in Education

OER Initiatives in Marshall Islands

The ICDE report on regulatory frameworks for distance education (1) could find no legislation or policies to support OER in the Marshall Islands, but the improvements in internet access in the Marshall Islands (1) may put residents in a better position to make use of OERs than previously.


National OER initiatives

Regional OER initiatives

Institutional OER initiatives

References

2. ReVica/VISCED page for Marshall Islands (http://virtualcampuses.eu/index.php/Marshall_Islands)

3. ICDE Profile for the Marshall Islands (http://www.icde.org/projects/regulatory_frameworks_for_distance_education/country_profiles/marshall_islands/)

Reports

1. ICDE Report: 'Regulatory frameworks for distance education: A pilot study in the Southwest Pacific/South East Asia region - Final report'. December 2011. Prepared by the Project Team (Team leader, Dr. Rosalind James) (accessed at http://www.icde.org/filestore/Regulatory_Framework/RegulatoryFrameworksforDEfinalreport2.pdf on Wednesday 11th July 2012)


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