Study and find schools in Guam
Guam is an unincorporated, yet organized territory of the United States, one of only five United States territories with an established civilian government. Located in the Pacific Ocean, Guam is the largest of the Mariana Islands, with a total geographic area of 209 square miles, and its capital and largest city is Hagåtña, formerly known as Agaña.
Guam was first populated over 4,000 years ago by the indigenous people known as the Chamorros, and later underwent hundreds of years of European colonization. First discovered by the Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan during an expedition on March 6, 1521, the island was later colonized by the Spanish in 1668. Spain would remain in control of Guam until 1898, when it was surrendered to the United States during the Spanish-American War and ultimately ceded to the US as part of the Treaty of Paris. Following the bombing of Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in 1941, Guam was captured and controlled by Japanese troops for two years, during which time the people of Guam were subjected to many atrocities, including rapes and beheadings, and were forced to adopt certain Japanese ways. This would not last, however, as the US once again recaptured Guam during a military mission on July 21, 1944—a day that is now celebrated in both the United States and Guam as “Liberation Day.”
The Guam of today is a much more peaceful one, but due to its strategic location it continues to be very important to the United States in terms of national defense. In fact, after tourism (the largest economic sector), the territory’s principal industry and second largest income source is the United States military.
Guam has an estimated population of 175,000—a population that is very ethnically diverse. The largest ethnic group is the indigenous Chamorros, who account for roughly 37 percent of the total population. Other visible groups include Filipinos (26%), Whites (10% and usually of Spanish or other European ancestry), and smaller groups of Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. Christianity is the most oft-practiced religious faith on the island, particularly Roman Catholicism, of which over 85 percent of the population is a member. Guam has two official languages: English, which is used for all official matters of the state, and Chamorro, spoken commonly and informally among the Chamorro people.
Education in Guam
Education in Guam is administered by the national government and public education is free and compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 14. Education is divided into 4 separate stages: primary school, middle school, high school and tertiary education, although only the first two levels, primary and middle school, are compulsory. Both public schools and private schools provide education at all levels within Guam’s system, including several primary/middle schools and one high school owned and operated by the US Department of Defense, which is free for children of military personnel.
At the primary and middle school-level, students receive instruction across a broad academic platform, including subjects such as mathematics, science, language arts, history, social and environmental studies, geography, music, art and physical education. At the secondary school level, students can opt to continue on a purely academic path, one that will help prepare them for future university studies, or opt for a program that is more vocational in nature, giving them the knowledge and skills required to successfully enter the workforce upon graduation.
Higher education in Guam consists of two universities, one public and the other private, as well as a large community college. Both universities offer academic and specialty courses at the undergraduate and graduate level, leading to Bachelor and Master’s Degrees respectively. Students who choose to enroll in the junior college have essentially two options: they can take academic classes with the goal of transferring to a university down the road, or they can become certified in one of many occupational fields important to the Guam economy.
The Guam public school system has and still faces many challenges, and despite reforms aimed at addressing these hurdles, there continues to be high dropout rates and poor test scores among students, particularly in the later grades. Finding enough qualified teachers has long been a problem on the island, and because of the wide ethnic and linguistic diversity of the student body, many of whom are entirely unfamiliar with the American school system, normal educational problems are compounded and even harder to overcome.