Center for Continuing Education celebrates graduation of 100 teachers, marks beginning of virtual school

Birzeit University’s Center of Continuing Education celebrated the graduation of 100 schoolteachers on June 15, 2022, after two years of implementing the center’s Independent Learning Objects (ILOBS) program in different Palestinian schools.

The new cohort will be the cornerstone for launching the first virtual school in Palestine.

Dr. Osama Mimi, supervisor of the center’s Learning Innovation Unit, expressed his enthusiasm in starting the e-school in Palestine. Mimi pointed out that the center’s current phase of designing the learning objects, training teachers and launching a learning platform are all part of knowledge production, which will provide the center with a comprehensive understanding on the best ways to integrate virtual schooling into the Palestinian and Arab school system. 

Dr. Asmaa Hamdan, specialist in learning design, presented the outcomes of her study on the impact of integrating independent learning objects with teachers and students. Hamdan said that ILOBS improved student outcomes, increased their motivation and improved teaching practices.

The learning objects’ impact, continued Hamdan, increased student motivation to learn. The project invigorated and enhanced the students’ connection to the school and their enthusiasm for learning, especially among students of limited aptitude.

Ruhiya Seward, senior program officer at the International Development Research Centre, emphasized the importance of integrating independent learning objects in the post-COVID-19 era, in a pioneering project that addresses the curriculum in a creative and motivating manner.

Mohammad Salameh, deputy chief of the Education Programme at UNRWA, indicated that the learning objects project provides students with a rich and diverse experience that matches the UNRWA’s policies and vision. 

Salameh mentioned that the e-school provides students a motivating blended learning environment to produce knowledge while offering teachers the space for creativity. He added that the e-school had begun with 60 teachers who work in UNRWA schools. 

Dr. Marwan Tarazi, director of the Center for Continuing Education, said that the ILOBS have become a national resource designed by Palestinians. Tarazi emphasized the project’s value to empower the Palestinian educational system. These learning objects provide stimulating and motivating education for students—the opposite of a classic educational system, explained Tarazi.

The ILOBS are implemented by Birzeit University in collaboration with the International Development Research Centre and UNRWA. It targeted 66 private and UNRWA schools in Jerusalem and the West Bank for math and science courses, and included 1,200 students  from the 7th to 10th grades.