No Western Agenda Left Behind: A Comparative Analysis of Higher Education Institutions in the Republic of the Marshall Islands

By David W. Kupferman.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) has two institutions of tertiary education: the College of the Marshall Islands (CMI) and the University of the South Pacific Majuro Center (USP). CMI is modeled after the U.S. 2-year community college, and has its origins in a community college system established in Micronesia by the U.S. administration during the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands period. USP’s origins lie in the British model of undergraduate education, and a centre was established in the RMI in 1993. Both of these schools are the product of western conceptions of higher education, and reflect
non-indigenous philosophies and agendas through their vision, mission, and planning processes. Additionally, while both CMI and USP have a variety of obvious differences, both in their development and in the rhetoric they employ to promote their respective philosophies, they share an important set of parallel concerns regarding funding and resources. A comparative analysis of each institution’s seminal planning and visioning documents allows for a closer
examination of the forces driving these two schools, and how, if at all, they reflect the Marshallese context. This paper then attempts to determine if the theoretical, political, and financial agendas underlying both CMI and USP
permit these schools to meet the needs of the Marshallese community, or if they are solely vehicles through which western education agendas are promoted and institutionalized.

Keywords: Higher Education, Marshall Islands, College of the Marshall Islands, University of the South Pacific, Western Schooling, Western Value Systems in Higher Education, Decolonization

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp.69-78. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 605.258KB).

David W. Kupferman

Graduate Student, Department of Educational Foundations, College of Education, University of Hawaii -- Manoa, Honolulu, HI, USA

David Kupferman is currently a PhD student in Educational Foundations at the University of Hawaii -- Manoa. His research interests include American-style school systems in Micronesia, the use of western pedagogy to promote western agendas, and the role of indigenous epistemologies in the Pacific in resisting the push for globalization.


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