On the issue of levying fees on foreign students in schools, Johnson Toribiong, one of the framers of Palauan constitution said that right to free education applies to the citizens only.

“Palau’s constitution provides that Palauans can be given favorable treatment,” Toribiong said.

However, he said that it is a policy decision adding that it is good for Palauan children to associate with foreign students.

“I don’t think it[fees] should be raised high for the foreign workers children,” Toribiong said.

He said that constitution allows the treatment of non Palauans to be a little different.

The Ministry of Education has been urged to levy fees on foreign students and hopes for an intervention from national leadership as people have expressed concerns on rising number of foreign students attending public schools.

Palau is a signatory to Convention on Rights of Child. CRC Article 28 suggests that States parties need to recognize the right of child to education on the basis of equal opportunity and hence make primary education compulsory, available and free to all.

As per the previous Island Times report , the statistics from the MOE shows that the number of foreign students enrolled in Palau’s public elementary schools had increased to 321 in 2019 compared to the only 187 in 2015. Meanwhile, foreign students’ enrollment in public high school had dropped from 72 in 2015 to only 71 in 2019.

Palauan citizens’ enrollment in public elementary schools, meanwhile, shows decrease from the 1,587 in 2015 to 1,435 in 2019. There are currently 551 Palauans enrolled in Palau’s public high school in 2019 compared to the 588 in 2015. (By Eshan Kalyanikar)