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Marshall Islands


The Republic of the Marshall Islands is two archipelagos of 29 atolls located in the North Pacific Ocean half-way between Hawaii and Australia. The population is 63,174 and the literacy rate is 93.6%. Marshallese and English are the official languages.

Micronesians first settled on the Marshall Islands in the 2nd century BC. The first European settler was British Captain John Charles Marshall, who first visited the country in 1788 and for whom the islands are named. In 1885, a German trading company established a settlement and the islands became a part of German New Guinea. After World War I, the islands became a Japanese mandate. In 1944, during World War II, the islands were captured by the United States. Following the war, the Marshall Islands became a United Nations Trust Territory administered by the United States. The Marshall Islands were granted independence in 1986.


As a former administrative area of the United States, the Marshall Islands follows a U.S.-patterned educational system. English is the language of instruction. Education is free and compulsory from ages 6 to 14, although almost all students complete at least 12 years of education.

Primary and Secondary Education

Primary school is 8 years. Upon completion of primary school, students sit for an examination for admission to one of the two high schools on the Marshall Islands. High school is 4 years and leads to a diploma.

Post-Secondary Education

The College of the Marshall Islands offers 2-year Associate of Arts and Associate of Science programs as well as one-semester certificate programs. A high school diploma or its equivalent is required for admission to the associate degree programs. Most students continue their education at colleges and universities in the United States. The College of the Marshall Islands is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).



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