21 March 2013
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) contributed this week to two high-level regional education meetings in Amman, reaffirming its leading role in and engagement with regional dialogue on reforming education systems. UNRWA’s education department representatives attended the ALESCO/World Bank Regional Teacher Policy Forum and the UNESCO Regional Workshop on Monitoring and Evaluation Frameworks for Education. Both meetings reflect the increasing emphasis placed on evidence-based education planning and policymaking and of monitoring education results.
At the Regional Teacher Policy Forum, Director of Education Dr. Caroline Pontefract gave a keynote speech on UNRWA’s teacher policy framework to an audience of 75 policymakers from ministries of education, universities, Arab and international organizations working in the field, NGOs, and think-tanks. She shared UNRWA’s experience and emphasized the importance placed on teachers within the education reform, highlighting four key parameters for a successful teacher policy: professional viability; financial feasibility; political acceptability; and administrative applicability. The presentation was extremely well received, and it was suggested that UNRWA play a leading role with subsequent regional sessions convened for UNRWA to share in more detail the work their experience. This forum was part of the ALESCO/World Bank Arab Regional Agenda on Improving Education Quality (ARAIEQ) and the Arab Program for Teacher Policies and Professional Development convened by the Queen Rania Teacher Academy.
In the UNESCO regional forum on Monitoring and Evaluation, Senior Education Specialist in UNRWA’s Education Department Dr Gabrielle Bonnet presented the Agency’s work on the Education Reform and its Monitoring and Evaluation Framework to directors of planning from Ministries across the region. Here UNRWA’s work to improve and harmonize data on education access and quality across the five Fields of education, and innovation with regard to the computation and monitoring of costs in education, raised particular interest among the 25 attending education planners.
The contribution that UNRWA made in these two key regional fora and the reception the presentations garnered reflects a recognition of UNRWA’s work and its increasing role as a key regional educational player.