6,816 students enrolled in the first online summer term
Rather than bringing its students back to campus during the summer term of the 2019–2020 academic year, Birzeit University has opted to continue remote teaching and online learning. This method of instruction was launched in March when students and staff had to leave the campus due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
More than 6,800 undergraduate and graduate students are currently enrolled in the first summer term. The students will be assessed and evaluated based on the pass-fail system in lieu of grades.
University president Abdullatif Abuhijleh explained that “the decision was taken out of respect for the health and well-being of students and faculty as well as the surrounding communities to which they commute every day.”
The university’s administration, according to Abuhijleh, will make full use of its longstanding track record of excellence in both in-person and online teaching and learning. It will tap into the university community’s spirit of unity to deliver a high-quality educational experience in these most unusual times.
Also, registration for the new academic year (2020–2021) is now open for new undergraduate and graduate students. During the fall semester, scheduled to begin in September, Birzeit University aspires to provide a positive on-campus experience while adhering to local and governmental health protocols and guidelines.
Birzeit University is concerned as well about the international students who enrolled in its Palestine and Arab Studies Program (PAS). Even though currently, travel bans are in place in many countries around the globe due to the spread of COVID-19, Birzeit University looks forward to starting the first PAS semester face-to-face and welcomes international students who will spend three months studying the Arabic language as well as the Palestinian question and culture.
Tagreed Abed, director of the PAS program, expressed her concerns over the possibility of traveling in the upcoming academic year (2020–2021), saying, “The situation might get worse. Therefore, at the PAS program, we are developing and adapting our material and uploading it to be well-prepared for online teaching if necessary.”
“We are also thinking about offering the Arabic courses online, even if we go back to face-to-face teaching,” Abed continued. This decision, she said, will depend on the number of students who will register for any of the courses.
Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the university has focused its planning and response to the situation by ensuring adherence to core guiding principles that include: prioritizing the health and safety of faculty, staff and students; protecting the mission of the university in providing a life-long learning experience; and staying mindful and complying with the government’s directives.