UNRWA launches education reform strategy on World Teachers’ Day

05 October 2011

5 October 2011
Amman

UNRWA officially launched its education reform strategy for 2011 to 2015 today, World Teachers’ Day, under the patronage of Ms Margot Ellis, UNRWA’s Deputy Commissioner-General.

The reform will improve the quality of learning for Palestine refugee students in UNRWA’s 700 schools and allow the Agency to meet the evolving demands of an education system for the 21st century. The strategy focuses on teacher development, curriculum and student assessment, inclusive education, and technical and vocational training.

The strategy is underscored by a forward-looking vision for UNRWA education which aspires to develop the “full potential of Palestine refugees to enable them to be confident, innovative, questioning, thoughtful, tolerant and open minded, upholding human values and tolerance, proud of their Palestinian identity and contributing positively to the development of their society and the global community.”

More than 100 educationalists, including UNRWA staff and the Agency’s partners, attended a celebration held at UNRWA headquarters in Amman. In a speech, Ms Ellis focused on the importance of World Teachers’ Day in fostering awareness, understanding and appreciation for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development. She also highlighted the great role that UNRWA teachers play in educating Palestine refugee schoolchildren.

Dr Caroline Pontefract, the director of education, focused on what the reform is about and how it will contribute to better quality education for Palestine refugee children.

The event also hosted a photography and art exhibition showing education activities across all UNRWA’s fields of operation.

Education is UNRWA’s largest programme, accounting for more than half of the Agency’s regular budget. The Agency operates one of the largest school systems in the Middle East, providing half a million Palestine refugee children with free-of-charge basic education every day.

United Nations World Teachers‘ Day, held annually on 5 October, celebrates the role that teachers worldwide play in providing quality education at all levels. It aims to mobilise support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met. The 2011 worldwide events focused on the theme "Teachers for Gender Equality”.

Parallel events launching the strategy and celebrating World Teachers’ Day also took place in UNRWA’s five fields of operations: Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

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 For more information please contact:

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724
s.mshasha@unrwa.org

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$ 68.2 million.

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