Academic experts explore means to open up education in Palestine

A national seminar on a national strategy for sustainable learning and open educational resources was held at Birzeit University on April 20, 2017. The seminar, "Palestine OER Strategy Forum," was organized by the Center of Continuing Education at Birzeit University in cooperation with a number of local and international organizations.

The seminar, part of the Erasmus+ funded project "OpenMid," aims at bringing together educators and managers from higher education institutions in Palestine to discuss and analyze the challenges and priorities in opening up higher education in Palestine.

Vice President of Community Affairs at Birzeit University Asim Khalil talked about the challenges that face Palestinian universities today within globalized and open communities, particularly the provocations that hinder development. He stated that institutions must take strategic actions to implement open education practices and resources for the sake of the university's academic development.

Birzeit University, according to Khalil, has so far taken the leap in this field in adherence to global developments in academia.

Director of the Erasmus+ office in Palestine Nedal Jayousi talked about the office's mission to create opportunities for Palestinians to empower themselves with training workshops and exchange opportunities and to overcome the obstacles that the Israeli occupation places to hinder the process of academic development in Palestine.

Jayousi emphasized the need to enhance cooperation and partnerships with peer institutions to reduce the gap between the traditional means of education and the development of modern techniques in academia.

Cristina Stefanelli, representing UNIMED, stated that this forum offers the opportunity for educators to know more about the activities and first results of the OpenMED project, and to debate Open Education initiatives and strategies in an Euro-Mediterranean context.

The director of the Center of Continuing Education Marwan Tarazi pointed out that living under occupation reduces the possibilities for developing education, especially that many international academic experts and scholars are denied access to Palestine. He added that the occupation controls the economic and industrial sectors in Palestine, which affects employability rates within the youth