Birzeit University Launches Cooperative Education Project

Birzeit University will soon be launching the Cooperative Education
Project (CO-OP), which will be the first of its kind in Palestine. CO-OP is a
structured method of integrating academic education with practical work experience in which the participating students
both study and work in jobs related to their academic plans. This integration ensures
the enhancement of the students’ academic experience as well as their career

CO-OP is slightly different from
internship, largely in terms of the duration of CO-OP. Internships last from a few
weeks to several months, while CO-OP normally lasts for one or more years.



CO-OP will be applied in three faculties: Faculty of
Engineering, Faculty of Information Technology and the Faculty of Business and
Economics at the first phase of the program. In the pilot phase, 2-3 departments
from each faculty will be selected: the Departments of Civil Engineering and
Mechanical Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering; the Departments of
Computer Science and Computer Systems Engineering at the Faculty of Information
Technology; and the Departments of Finance, Economics, and Business
Administration at the Faculty of Commerce and Economics. Students enrolled must
attend three workshops on cooperative education scheduled for the beginning of
the second semester in the 2012-2013 academic year.

BZU Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Adnan Yahya, articulated
the goal of the project as aiming to provide an opportunity for students to
know and practice work life during their study years. He added that CO-OP will secure
a limited source of income for the students and provide them with an
opportunity to become acquainted with industrial companies, which may pave the
way for future employment opportunities.


Benefits of enrolling as CO-OP students include acquiring work experience related to the
field of specialization; thus, students graduate not only with their academic
degrees, but also with at least 6-12 months of relevant experience that can assist
them in securing a full-time job after graduation.

As for employers, CO-OP may solve short-term
resource challenges, build capacity for new ventures, and bring fresh ideas to
the workplace.

CO-OP students will
be treated as regular employees. They will receive frequent performance
evaluations and mentoring by their supervisors. CO-OP experience is
usually included on a student's transcript, in addition to being awarded credits
for its completion. It is the responsibility of students to
apply and interview for available CO-OP positions.
There are no guarantees that they will secure CO-OP job.