Al Jazeera Children’s Channel and UNRWA sign groundbreaking online learning agreement

06 December 2010

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Towards a Brighter Future

6 December 2010

Signing ceremony at Al JazeeraAl Jazeera Children’s Channel today concluded an agreement with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) that will give unique learning opportunities to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children across the Middle East.

The new initiative will involve the use of the educational website Taalam.TV, launched by Al Jazeera Children’s Channel in January 2010, across UNRWA schools in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. As part of an agreement signed today in Doha, students and teachers alike will be able to use tailor-made multimedia by Talaam.TV to support the normal curriculum.

The agreement also heralds a long-term partnership, under which JCC would provide UNRWA and the young Palestine refugee students with special online educational material in their classrooms.

The project was given the green light after Dr Caroline Pontefract, UNRWA’s Director of Education and Mahmoud Bouneb, Executive General Manager of Al Jazeera Children’s Channel, signed an agreement at JCC’s headquarters in Doha.

The signing event was attended by Dr Yehia Al Agha, the Cultural Attaché of Palestine to Qatar.

Speaking at the event, Dr Pontefract said: “UNRWA is looking forward to using the groundbreaking online materials in its schools.” Dr Ayman Murad, Head of Partnership, Advocacy, Communication and ICT at UNRWA’s Department of Education praised “the spirit of long-term cooperation” in which the agreement was signed.

For his part, Mahmoud Bouneb, Executive General Manager of Al Jazeera Children’s Channel thanked UNRWA for “showing trust in Taalam.TV. The agreement.” he said, “would allow thousands of Palestine refugee students to learn more through fun and interactive technology.” 

Bouneb also stated that JCC in collaboration with QF aim to make Taalam.TV the leading reference centre for Arab schools, educators and students all over the world. “The aim of this,” he said, “is to improve upon traditional education in the Arab world, which is typically based on memorisation and rote learning. Al Jazeera Children’s Channel is looking to deliver education that focuses on interaction, participation and specialisation,” he said.

Taalam.TV has been designed in collaboration with a group of Arab teachers and educational experts making it the first educational video-on-demand online platform in the Arab world. The website’s rich database of educational audiovisual materials extracted from JCC TV content, along with curricula-based supporting documents, assist Arab educators in making teaching more stimulating and engaging allowing students to store, process and recall information more rapidly.

JCC has also signed a MoU with the Sultanate of Oman’s Ministry of Education in April 2010 granting schools access to its educational website. Taalam.TV is currently benefiting over 100,000 students in 178 schools across 28 countries including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Syria, France, Britain, USA and Canada.

Media contacts

Al Jazeera Children’s Channel
Oussama Rahal – 974 4482 4516
Ohoud Altamimi – 974 4482 4116

Christopher Gunness – 972 (0)54 240 2659 

Sami Mshasha – 972 (0)54 216 8295

Ayman Murad  – 962 (0)77 676 0186

Background Information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 100 million.

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