Center for Continuing Education celebrates first and seconds cohorts of its innovative teacher-training program

Sixty three graduates celebrated the completion of a seven-month teacher training program organized by Birzeit University’s Center for Continuing Education together with Finance for Jobs Consulting Services, a firm focused on addressing youth unemployment in Palestine, in a ceremony held on campus on Tuesday, August 3, 2021. 

The program aims to equip Palestinian graduates passionate about teaching with the skills and knowledge necessary to find employment in educational institutions. Through the program’s five unique stages, experts at the Center for Continuing Education work with the participants to develop their pedagogical methodologies, personal capacities, interpersonal skills, and self-development approaches. 

In particular, participants are trained on using innovative teaching and learning methods and student-centered approaches, such as the Center for Continuing Education’s Experiential Learning Objects (xLOBs), in addition to critically engaging with more traditional pedagogical frameworks and integrating digital tools into everyday learning activities. 

In his welcoming remarks, Dr. Osama Mimi, director of the Learning Innovation Unit at the Center for Continuing Education, stressed the importance of creatively and critically engaging with the educational process at all levels in Palestine, highlighting the future role played by the program participants in developing and advancing local educational institutions. Initiatives involving the cooperation of private, public, and non-governmental institutions, such as the teacher training program, is also essential for the development of the educational system, he added. 

One of the important objectives that the program aims to achieve is to help teachers-in-training break free from traditional teaching methods, such as memorization and recitation techniques, and replace them with modern, interactive approaches that create active learning environments. Lina Obaid, who successfully completed the program, said that the training she received made her more aware of the ways in which she could innovate in the classroom to help students not only better understand the material, but also contribute to the learning process by becoming active producers of knowledge. 

Jalil Hazboun, executive director of Finance for Jobs Consulting Services, said that the teacher training program aligns neatly with the organization’s mission of tackling unemployment through implementing the first Palestinian Employment Development Impact Bond (DIB), which is a results-based mechanism that funds initiatives and programs enabling Palestinian youth to secure long-term employment. The organization’s staff, said Hazboun, worked closely with the funders and with the Center for Continuing Education staff to implement the program effectively. 

The ceremony, Hazboun added, is a celebration of the hard work and dedication of the program’s first and second cohorts, who will go on to transform teaching and learning at Palestinian schools and educational institutions. He noted that graduates can now apply for the third round of the program.

Mazen Asad, director of the Finance for Jobs Project, a 4-year initiative organized by the Palestinian Ministry of Finance and funded by the World Bank that aims to create employment  opportunities in Palestine, said that DIB is one of the project’s innovative tools that help spur investment in solutions addressing unemployment among youth in Palestine. By supporting the training and development of teachers-in-training, he remarked, the project is investing in the future of the Palestinian community. 

Anas Shahada, who leads the implementation of World-Bank-funded projects at the Palestinian Ministry of Finance, stressed the importance of cooperation between the Palestinian government and the World Bank in developing new financial instruments that stimulate investments in the different sectors of the Palestinian economy and foster sustainable development.