Palauan Language To Be Taught In All Palau Schools

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New law requires public, private schools offer language classes

By Aurea Gerundio-Dizon

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Dec. 10, 2012) – A new law was enacted Friday mandating the instruction of written Palauan language at every school in the Republic.

The law states that every school chartered in the Republic or funded by public funds must offer instruction in reading and writing the Palauan language, consistent with the Palauan Orthography, as advanced by Palau Language Commission and the Ministry of Education.

The mandatory Palauan course will be in the core curriculum for the first through twelfth grade for every school chartered in the Republic or funded by public funds.

Legislative findings showed that only public schools in Palau are currently required to offer Palauan language instruction.

As a result, many students in private schools may never learn to read or write Palauan, undermining the preservation of Palauan language and its important role in Palauan society and culture.

Requiring early formal education in Palauan reportedly achieves several goals. This will reportedly allow children to better understand their Palauan background and identity, provides universal experience for children in Palau, promoting a society-wide sense of community and ensures that the language will serve as foundation for the Republic’s children through their education, staying with them as they master History, English and Science.

Presidential Press Secretary Fermin Meriang disclosed that the president signed this new law before leaving for the Philippines Friday for his annual medical check. Meriang said the president will be back on island on Friday this week.

As the president signed the new law, two riders, including the extension of Bureau of Lands and Surveys up to September 30, 2013 and appropriation of cost-of-living-allowance for full-time government employees, were also approved.

On the BLS extension, the new law states that the bureau shall complete the surveying required by September 30, 2013.

On the COLA, the new law states that $20 bi-weekly COLA shall be given to every full-time employee of the state and national governments, except those earning $25,000 or more per year.

Payment of COLA is retroactive to October 1, 2012. The COLA will be exempt from deductions for wage and salary taxes, Palau Pension Plan contributions, Social Security taxes and the National Medical Savings Fund contributions.

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