By Eoghan O. Ngirudelsang
Dr. Dale Jenkins nomination to the Ministry of Education failed to garner needed votes in
the Senate due to proposals he made and not because his nationality according to Senator
In an email, Senator Rudimch stated “I think Dr. Dale Jenkins’ made straightforward
proposals for improvement that he knew may not conform to the current state or to the
liking of some within the Ministry of Education. So, the nationality was not a big factor;
rather miniscule, as compared to the proposed management approach that Dr. Dale Jenkins
is set to bring on”.
Dr. Dale Jenkins failed to capture the 9 votes needed to secure confirmation as new
Minister of Education. He fell short of just one vote with 8 voting yes and 4 voting no to his
On the 3rd of this month, Dr. Jenkins sat down for a two-hours confirmation hearing
answering numerous question on his plans for MOE. Prior to the hearing, Dr. Jenkins also
had to complete a lengthy questionnaire on his views of Palau’s educational system.
An 11-page committee report on Dr. Jenkins’ nomination and confirmation hearing was put
out by Senator Andrew Tabelual at last Tuesday’s Senate session.
The Senate committee report highlighted many of Dr. Jenkins’ perspectives on education in
Palau as well as his proposals to implement if confirmed as MOE minister. The report noted
that “Dr. Jenkins strongly emphasized the importance of education because in Palau, it
seems education is not a priority”. It highlighted Jenkins’ comments that he “strongly
believes in accreditation”, a “firm believer in a year round school calendar for it ensure the
student is learning” as well as “believes that we can use sports and other extra-curricular
activities to help and inspire learning in children”.
Dr. Jenkins proposed that teachers should be moved from civil service to teacher contracts
and also “propose the idea of teacher aides to assist classrooms while the teacher attend
college to earn their degree and enhance their skills”. Dr. Jenkins also “believes that Palau
can recruit teachers from other countries and we can use them as substitute teachers while
we send Palauan teachers to college to earn their degrees” stated the report.
A closer look at MOE today reveals that many schools in Palau are already accredited by the
Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). It is reported that there are some
schools in Palau which are still in the process of receiving their accreditation status having
initiated accreditation preparations a few years ago in the move to have all schools in
Commenting on Dr. Jenkins emphasis to integrate technology into learning during his
confirmation hearing, an educator commented that “integration of technology into
classrooms is an ongoing project at MOE”. “Tablets had been given to schools and teachers
are currently being trained to address remote learning. There are being trained on online
platforms such as Zoom and Edmodo networks to name a few that have been identified as
workspace for students to learn and teachers to teach in this technological age”.
A public member noted that currently, the “Ministry of education has a program where
teachers are taking college classes all paid for to acquire their degree in the education field
while remaining as teachers. Realistically, teacher’s aides are not a necessity”.
A retired long time educator shared that “MOE give educators clearly set objectives to teach
students at every grade level, and assistance into making working lesson plans that will be
assessed by MOE are available at hand. They have an online server that provides teaching
materials and assistance for new teachers as well as long term educators. There’s help for
parent trainings in terms of helping their children with their home works in respective
school subjects such as Singapore Math that is available all the time upon the request of
their school principal.
There is a manual available for extra-curricular activities and inter school sports
tournaments are ongoing, Physical education has been included as a graded school subject.
MOE also has a school lunch program specially designed by professional nutritionists, a
long way from the canned foods and processed Spam and Hotdogs of Palau school’s early
days. In all these improvements, the ministry of education is partnering with professional
education consultants that travel to the island every year assessing the educational system
from math courses to discipline methods. The question remains; what specific new offers is
Dr. Jenkins brining to the table if he becomes minister?”
Dr. Jenkins is supported by many as a good choice for the job considering his many
experiences and a lifetime career dedicated to Education.
Dr. Dale Jenkins will be brought again for re-consideration in the Senate said president
Whipps at last Wednesday’s press conference. Since senator Akitaya is still off-island on
medical attention, Only 12 senators are on island for this re-consideration. This means that
for Dr. Jenkins to be the minister of education, one of the four senators who voted in
opposition must change their vote to be in favor of the president’s appointment.