BY: Olkeriil Ngirudelsang
Senate Committee on Education sat down yesterday for a confirmation hearing of Dr. Dale Jenkins’ appointment to the Ministry of Education.
Held the same day as the opening of the first day of a new school year for public schools, the hearing was conducted by Senator Andrew Tabelual, Chairman of Committee on Education, who himself served as the Director of Education just recently.
During the hearing, Dr. Jenkins shared his views and positions on certain education issues. Asked by Senator Sengebau as to how teachers can be kept from moving to better paying jobs, Jenkins said that “my suggestion is that all teachers should be put on teachers’ contract”. He explained that by remaining in the civil service program, teachers are entitled to take a 2 weeks-vacation in the middle of a school year. Jenkins pointed that by being employed through teachers’ contracts, teachers will be conditioned to complete the 10 months-school year as well as be incentivized under this scheme.
Dr. Dale also emphasized the importance of increasing the use of technology in teaching and learning. He also made clear that schools in Palau should be held a year round; with no summer breaks but with holidays and breaks in between quarters and semesters “like a 3 or 4-days quarter break”. “A year round school’s calendar; I’m a firm believer that educationally, it is the best system,” expressed Dale.
In response to Senator Eldebechel’s statement regarding the public inquiry of Dale’s nationality as a non-palauan, Jenkins assured, “give me four years and then decide”.
When asked to comment, Senator Isechal expressed that “I would have liked to see a Palauan fill this position; but if not, I will respect the President’s decision to nominate Dale”.
Dr. Dale Jenkins have an impressive resume on education. He holds a doctorate degree on Policy development and administration and 2 Masters degrees on Reading as well as Educational Administration and Supervision.
In a letter to the OEK, President Whipps wrote that “Dr. Jenkins has the practical teaching experience to know exactly what the students and teachers need to succeed in the classroom, and has the leadership experience and education to foster an engaged and successful ministry.”
If confirmed, Dale Jenkins would be the second foreigner to serve as a cabinet member of this young Republic.