22 December 2010
Tulkarm, West Bank
UNRWA marked the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with the launch of school parliament elections throughout the West Bank. UNRWA education staff and representatives of governmental, civil, community and women’s organisations present, along with the students’ parents, attended a celebration at Tulkarm Basic School for Girls.
The deputy chief of education, Wahid Jubran, said: “UNRWA always seeks to promote democratic principles in UNRWA schools. The initiatives significantly help to strengthen the culture of human rights and respect for the diversity of opinions.”
The elections for the new school parliament term are being conducted in 98 UNRWA schools in the West Bank. Voting boxes were opened under the supervision of election committees made up of women’s and students’ organisations.
School parliaments promote a culture of human rights in schools and strengthen democratic practices and life among students. They also teach children civil and social skills, including leadership, participation, decision-making and communication. The electoral process helps students understand the values needed for practising elections, such as forgiveness, conflict resolution, dialogue and self-confidence.
School parliaments, which UNRWA introduced in 2005 as part of its human rights education programme in the West Bank, give students the chance to learn the meaning of citizenship, particularly the balance between their duties and their rights.
Parliament membership is open to students in grades 7 to 9, who can campaign using various methods, including banners and school radio broadcasts.
The school parliament’s work, and the authorities of the parliament members, is defined to give it an effective role in school life. Parliament can make decisions on student affairs, school activities and local community and school laws and regulations.
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