University community helps school students find passion for science in 2021 STEM Palestine

One hundred high-achieving school students have flocked to Birzeit University's campus to take part in science projects and activities as part of the 2021 STEM Palestine program.   

The STEM Palestine program, organized by the Palestinian Ministry of Education together with several Palestinian higher education institutions, aims to familiarize students with the underpinnings of science education and encourage enrollment in hard science majors.

As part of the first phase of the program, Birzeit University hosted 100 middle schoolers from the Ramallah and Al-Bireh governorate who had shown interest in science, technology, engineering, and math subjects (STEM). 

For three days — Jul 26 to Jul 29 — the students participated in workshops, projects, lectures, and interactive sessions together with engineering and science majors who used live experiments and group activities to explain scientific notions and ideas. 

Dr. Abdelrahim Mousa, an assistant professor of mathematics who serves as coordinator of STEM Palestine at Birzeit University, said that the program has a two-fold goal: First, to introduce the participating middle schoolers to concepts in STEM subjects and encourage them to pursue higher education in the sciences in general. Second, to introduce them to Birzeit University's faculties and facilities, such as the physics and chemistry labs, the Michel and Sanieh Hakim Observatory, the main library, and the university's museum. 

Mousa noted that the methodology used in the program was based on self-discovery, highlighting that the young students held experiments and found conclusions on their own. He added that the volunteer university students were trained by the ministry of education to organize entertaining educational activities that engage students’ imagination and pique their interest.

The second phase of STEM Palestine will see another 100 school students, from the ninth through 11th grades, join science-focused workshops, sessions, and seminars.