President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. approved the bill requiring all public teachers in Palau to have at least an associate degree in education or in their relevant fields.

The law, which was signed by Remengesau on December 26, mandates that no teacher in any public schools in Palau should be certified without complying the terms of the law.

Those who are already employed but have not met the qualifications, however, are given at least five years to come into compliance with the law’s mandates.

Applicants for a teaching position that does not have any qualified teachers are given a chance to practice only until two years while the Ministry of Education (MOE) is looking for a teacher that meets the qualification.

The law was passed in response to the demand to improve the quality of education in Palau, especially after it was found that 38% of Palauan public teachers in the country are only high school diploma holders with college credits and another 38% only hold associate degrees. Only 23% of the public school teachers were found to be holders of bachelor’s degree or higher.

Meanwhile, majority of the educators with foreign nationalities are also found to be holders of bachelor’s degree or higher while only two of them hold an associate degree.

The law also noted that qualified and experienced teachers had been leaving their posts due to low pay and heavy workload.

“Teacher certifications are essential in ensuring that our teachers are, and remain, qualified,” Remengesau said in his signing statement. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)