BZU to hone students personal, career skills through launch of first learning station at "Masari"

Focused on developing university students as active citizens and forward-looking leaders, Birzeit University commenced the Personal Competencies and Career Path learning stations at the “Student Leadership and Active Citizenship Program-Masari”.  The two stations targets newly enrolled undergraduate students.

The university faculty members and staff, and in cooperation with community organizations' partners, are working together to provide BZU students with a rich learning journey that aims to create an environment for entrepreneurship and innovation through engaging students in the process of developing their communities.

Explaining the pedagogical framework of the program, The Vice President for Planning and Developing Mirvat Bulbul pointed out that the first year of the program is about "Self-discovery and developing self-capacities". The second year focuses on enabling the student to recognize the other and reaching out for the community. The last year includes two stations that focus on developing and implementing students' initiatives that are tailored to the Palestinian context and national priorities.

The Director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Unit George Yerousis will be phased over a period of three years to reach the full student population, which entails curricular and co-curricular components within the university structure and functions, through six different learning stations; three hours sessions every other week and articulated through community-based activities.

The students, according to Yerousis, will be handed an accredited certificate that showcases their accomplishment at the Program.  Community service working hours will also be counted.

Underscoring the University community's role, Yerousis pointed out that the program encourages BZU faculty and staff to further advance their professional capacity, "Last summer, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Unit offered an extensive Training of Trainers' (TOT) for our faculty and staff member. Today, more than 120 in-house facilitators are able to facilitate our students' learning journey and guarantee the steady supply of a qualified training."

One of the facilitators Sa'ed Nimer, a professor at the Philosophy and Cultural Studies Department, stressed on the importance of Masari. “Throughout this program, students will be equipped with essential skills sets that will bring about meaningful and innovative change in their communities and distant future moves.”

 “The program addresses the gaps that are not covered by our academic programs, and seeks to create a flagship co-curricular student leadership and civic engagement program that engages students in a transformative experience that empowers them to take charge of their own future, and the Palestinian community in general.”

Facilitator and the Administrative Assistant of the Programming and Registration Section Kholoud Burbar said that the "advantages of the program go beyond the students themselves, but also include us as staff and faculty members."

This program, according to Burbar, will offer a range of experience that will help students hone and develop their interpersonal and work skills, "All of these are necessary for students to become successful individuals and contributing members of the larger community."

In turn, first- year computer science student Omar Bakri said that he believes that this program will help him as a student to synthesize and make sense of what he have learnt from the various curricular and co-curricular experiences. "Now, I can uncover my own values, chart my own path and discover my own purposes."

The Program is conducted by the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Unit at Birzeit University, and supported by Cairo Amman Bank.