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December 28, 2010

“Improving the Quality of Primary and Secondary Education in Palestine” Project

Bethlehem University and Palestinian Schools Gather to Conduct the First Activity

QualityOn November 30th, 2010, representatives from fifty schools which have partnered up with Bethlehem University on its education enhancement project, gathered in the little town of Bethlehem, to kick off the university’s latest project. This first activity, which took place on-campus in Furno Hall, was an informative workshop which brought together participants from Jerusalem, Bethlehem and North Hebron. Amongst the participants of the workshop were (attending on behalf of Madame Pilar Lara) Ms. Macarena Lotelo, (Project Director of the “Fundacion Romocion Social De La Cultura) Br. Peter Bray (Vice Chancellor – BU), Br. Robert Smith (Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty of Education – BU), Mr. Rizek Sleibi (Dean of Faculty of Education – BU), directors and teachers of the 50 partner schools to the project, directors of educational offices located in the three districts and a number of school faculty members.

QualityBr. Robert Smith welcomed the participants and highlighted the successes of the previous project “Quality of Education for All Through Partnership” (2007-2010) and important positive outcomes which that particular project produced. The most important objectives achieved were increased cooperation and collaboration amongst stakeholders, objectives which are ultimately aimed at providing young learners with rich, hands on learning experience and fostering of personal growth in the midst of the economic and political difficulties faced by students in Palestine. Br. Robert further expressed appreciation for all the efforts of faculty members as well as the Dean of Education and stressed the importance of continued cooperation between Bethlehem University and other stakeholders in enhancing the quality of education. Bethlehem University is the main institution to provide schools in the area with teaching personnel and trains classroom teachers who teach at elementary schools as well as subject area teachers who teach Arabic, English, History and Geography at secondary schools. Furthermore, the Faculty of Education offers a teaching diploma for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in Math, Arabic, English, Science, History or Geography.

QualityMr. Sleibi spoke about the latest project “Improving the Quality of Primary and Secondary Education in Palestine,” and noted its existence as an expansion of the previously mentioned project, which partnered 11 Bethlehem schools. He noted that in light of this project’s success, the inertia of this project’s success could and needed to be continued throughout Palestine, in order to provide opportunity to more schools. He added that the new project was designed according to the findings of the needs assessment, concluded in May of 2010, which analyzed further educational developmental needs of teachers, students and administrators.

 The education project will involve teachers, students, parents, and local community leaders in a variety of programs and activities to enhance the quality of education in the primary and secondary schools. It will engage more than 100 local schools and is built upon a previously successful program that engaged 11 schools.  Among the goals of the project are to promote education for gender equity, human rights, democracy, cultural identity and diversity, as well as environmental protectionism.

The project will also provide local schools with equipment and the necessary training for the students and teachers so that the technology and media will be most effectively utilized to enhance education. A special focus will be placed on furthering strengthening collaborative networks and the acquisition of effective learning and teaching skills. Workshops on pedagogy and teaching methodologies will be given, helping teachers to fully utilize the theory and power of education to create critical and dynamic young minds. The project will partner directly with 50 schools and indirectly with 60 schools in the middle and southern West Bank (Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and northern Hebron directorates) and include private, UNRWA, and public schools.

Br. Peter Bray presented Ms. Macarena Lotelo the University emblem in a show of appreciation for the Fundacion Promocion Social de la Cultura’s efforts toward improving the quality of education in Palestinian schools.  Ms. Macarena stated that education is an imperative human right and that the FPSC is committed to continuing their cooperation with Bethlehem University.

Directors of the 11 schools which participated in the previous project were able also to share their feedback and experiences with all participants. Afterwards they were presented by BU officials with the Certification of Participation in recognition of their efforts and commitment to the quality of education. The last part of the workshop consisted of a discussion which focused on the new project’s current phase, as well as discussion on planned in-depth needs assessment of each school; the results of which will enable Bethlehem University to continue to design and implement innovative education enhancement activities.


Bethlehem University Foundation
Phone: +1-240-241-4381
Fax: +1-240-553-7691
Beltsville, MD USA
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
Phone: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440
Bethlehem, Palestine