RMI-USP: College Prep Program

RMI-USP: College Prep Program

History of RMI-USP Program

President Amata Kabua spearheaded RMI becoming a member of The University of the South Pacific’s regional family over 20 years ago. “President Kabua was anxious that the Marshallese people advance in knowledge and education,” Former USP Director Dr. Irene Taafaki said in her speech to students at RMI-USP’s open day in 2019. “As part of his visits to other countries in the Pacific, particularly those south of the equator, he was impressed by the quality of thinking and confidence in the people of the countries. “On several occasions he would recount how he would ask those he met where they went to study for their LLBs, their BAs, BSCs and graduate qualifications – and they would invariably respond ‘to USP.’ ”The President subsequently arranged with the university, whose main campus is in Fiji, to start a campus in Majuro. Before long, however, it became obvious to USP staff that many high school graduates were not suitably prepared for tertiary studies: “It is one thing to enter university, it is another to exit with a degree,” Taafaki said. “To this end, the President and Cabinet established the RMI-USP Joint Program in 1996 to prepare Marshallese students for the strenuous academic demands of tertiary education by teaching pre-tertiary academic knowledge in the sciences, arts & humanities, and business together with the disciplined research and study skills demanded at the university level.”

All Marshallese students attending the two-year program are on RMI government scholarships. Since its inception in 1996, 358 students have successfully completed the RMI-USP Foundation Program with a Certificate in Foundation studies, indicating they have passed examinations in at least eight courses.  The Certificate is recognized as University entrance requirements and the subjects are cross-credited at the 100 level in the US university system, with specific cross credit agreements with the University of Hawaii (Manoa), University of Hawaii (Hilo), HPU and BYU. In 2021, tracking data indicated that 199 graduates are in the RMI workforce serving in senior and middle management service roles with 159 of these in the public, agency or sector or serving in Embassies, and 40 who are working in the private sector.

Our Mission:

To prepare you, a Marshallese student, for the vigorous demands of tertiary education.

Our Vision:

  • RMI-USP students will acquire the necessary attitude, knowledge and skills which provide a strong academic foundation for the challenges of university studies and life in general.
  • RMI-USP graduates will be human resources who will contribute socially, intellectually, and economically to the overall development and wellbeing of the Republic of Marshall Islands.
  • The RMI-USP Joint Education Program will evolve into a modest, program-focused educational complex where students from the Northern Pacific Region can obtain a quality academic pre-tertiary education.

Semester Dates

The school year begins in February and ends in December.
Semester 1: February to June, 18 weeks
Semester 2: July to November, 18 weeks
There is a four-week break between semesters and a one-week break during each semester.

Class Timetable: All RMI-USP courses are full time, from Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4pm, with additional small group or individual tutorials to support your studies.

Preliminary Bridging Program
The Preliminary Bridging Program is designed to bridge any gap between high school and the requirements of the RMI-USP Joint Education Program. This makes sure you will be prepared for the demands of the Foundation Program.  There are three streams in the Preliminary Bridging Program:

  1. Preliminary Science which includes Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Geography, and Information Science
  2. Preliminary Arts which includes History, Politics, and Sociology
  3. Preliminary Business which includes Accounting, Economics and Mathematics

Foundation Program
The Foundation Program is a preparatory program that forms the basis for further study at any University. On graduation, you will receive a Certificate in Foundation Studies. There are three streams in the Foundation Program:

  1. Foundation Science which includes Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Geography, Information Science and Computer Science
  2. Foundation Arts which includes History, Politics, and Sociology
  3. Preliminary Business which includes Accounting, Economics, Mathematics and Official Statistics

Entry Requirements and Registration
Entry requires successful completion of high school or equivalent. All students must pay the registration fee of $100 for each semester. This can be paid in installments throughout the semester. No transcripts are released unless registration fees are cleared.

How We Grade You

Your assessment is divided into two parts:

  1. Continuous assessment, which means that a certain proportion of your grade is awarded for work done throughout each semester. This work is in the form of tests, assignments, and laboratory reports. The percentage of the total marks for continuous assessment varies from 40 percent to 60 percent, depending on the nature of the course.
  2. Final Examination assessment, which means that examinations are held at the end of each semester and have a value of between 40 percent to 60 percent of your final total marks.

In the Preliminary Bridging Program, the continuous assessment aspect is vigorously regulated by the RMI-USP Program staff, who grade all assignments, tests, and examinations.

In the Foundation Program, Pacific TAFE’s College of Foundation Studies at USP in Suva, Fiji, sets all assignments and tests. The assignments are graded locally by the Program staff to ensure immediate feedback and assistance, including one-on-one tutorials.

Foundation Program Final Examinations are set by the Course Coordinators at the College of Foundation Studies Unit in Suva, Fiji. USP students all over the Pacific region take the same examinations, which are then sent back to USP in Suva for grading. The grades are then returned to the RMI-USP Program for compilation of final grades.

Students must sit the final examination.

Grades are awarded solely on your academic performance.

Note: Science courses require laboratory work and you will need to complete at least three quarters of all labs before being allowed to take your final examination.

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