Initial results from survey conducted by the Ministry of Education to assess how families of students are doing under the COVID-19 conditions show that most are doing well under these new conditions.  The survey also shows that there are families struggling due to COVID-19 impact.

Since the declaration of the National Health Emergency and the issuance of three directives closing all schools in the Republic of Palau due to COVID-19 threats, Ministry of Education had conducted surveys to collect information from the families of students to assess how they were coping with school closure, home schooling and other challenges related to school closure.  The purpose of the survey is said to help guide MOE’s effort to provide targeted assistance to students and their families during this challenging time.

The “Family Check-in Survey” to assess how families were faring was made available to all parents, both online and on paper form.  Parents of 2,045 students, out the 2229 enrolled in public schools responded to the survey, representing a 91.7% response rate.  These parents also represented 1,589 households in Palau.

Of the 2,045 surveys, 67% responded that they were doing well.  76% responded that they were doing ok and thankful that they have no sick family members. 8% (50 people) said that they had sick family members but they were doing ok. 3% (21 people) said they were not doing well and would love some help.  2% (12) said please call us, we need help.

The survey also asked responders to indicate what they were struggling with in order to see how they can be assisted.  62% (984) said “nothing, we are ok.”  12% (187) said they needed ideas on how to keep the kids occupied. 8% (133) were struggling to stay organized. 8% (144) were struggling with household necessities i.e., food, personal hygiene products, medication, etc.  8% were struggling with communicating with teachers and school staff and 22% (350) were struggling to complete school work while 13% (210) were struggling with technology.

The survey also gave parents opportunities to offer comments on how they can be helped.  Some of the comments include assist with internet access, stop giving additional work, teachers should be there to answer calls from students, provide lunch, resume as soon as possible, understand situation in household where parents working hours have been cut and so on.

The results of the survey show that although many reported to be doing well, there are challenges that must be addressed and recommend Ministry of Education work to address these issues.

Minister of Education Sinton Soalablai said that they are already working to address the concerns and challenges raised by the survey, especially those families that are negatively affected.