Birzeit University Works To Provide All Students with Textbook Access
Birzeit University has implemented a number of initiatives to alleviate the financial burden incurred by students purchasing textbooks. These measures seek to assist students in buying original textbooks at reasonable prices while deterring the photocopying of textbooks, which is against intellectual property rules.
For the third year in a row, students under the Information Technology Faculty can buy textbooks at a price subsidized by the university, through a fund provided by a number of technology companies and via agreements with book suppliers.
Department of Computer Systems Engineering Chairperson Abdul Latif Abu Isa says that the IT Faculty seeks to help students whose families are suffering from severe financial hardships.We keep communicating with technology companies to support this initiative, and the faculty donated JD 1,300 last semester to support the purchase of original textbooks, thus benefited 250 students.”
Book Corner for Needy Students
The university also recently opened a special book corner in the library for students in need. Library Director Diana Sayej says that this corner was initiated by Friends of Birzeit University and Heritage Revival Center and allows needy students to borrow textbooks.The Book Corner includes a total of 550 textbooks for 50 courses,” Sayej says, “which are borrowed by students for a full semester. Each needy student is allowed to borrow two textbooks only.”The initiative seeks to support the right of Palestinian students to education, regardless of their economic situation. The Book Corner is supervised by a committee consisting of faculty and staff members.
Used Textbooks Loan Project
For the fifth year in a row, the Cooperative Work Section at the Deanship of Student Affairs lends used textbooks for various disciplines in order to support students and boost social equity.A team of student volunteers collects used textbooks from their colleagues and classifies them, to be lent to other needy colleagues. The initiative seeks to promote volunteerism and moral responsibility among students.
The cooperative work coordinator, Ghada Al-Omari, says that the project is of great importance for students, encouraging communication and responsibility between them. “The project is implemented on a semester basis and seeks to intensify students’ volunteer efforts, since thousands of students over the past five years have benefited,” says Al-Omari.
These initiatives are only part of a broader policy of information sharing and the promotion of best practices at Birzeit University, says Vice President for Academic Affairs Adnan Yahya.
The university offers several initiatives in this regard, including a textbook exchange program among students through Ritaj – The Academic and Administrative Portal,” says Yahya. “The Deanship of Student Affairs also provides coupons for needy students to buy textbooks and the Faculty of Law and Public Administration has adopted a textbook lending system based on a refundable deposit.