Young Palestinians showcase scientific skills at West Bank exhibit

17 May 2012

17 May 2012
Ramallah, West Bank

UNRWA’s science and technology club for young Palestine refugees marked the end of its first year of activities yesterday with an exhibit at the Education Learning Centre in Ramallah. The event showcased an improvement in scientific prowess among young Palestine refugees in the West Bank.

The science and technology club for students in UNRWA schools was formed at the start of this academic year to offer young Palestine refugees the opportunity to improve their knowledge in science and technology, and to develop general skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking.

As part of the initiative, UNRWA schools committed to opening their facilities beyond normal hours, providing a venue for the students to work in informal groups, learning scientific theories and applying them outside of the normal curriculum.

Yesterday’s exhibit, organised with the support of local company Jumbo, included a technology competition in which students from UNRWA and Palestinian Authority (PA) schools throughout the West Bank took part. A judging panel was made up of officials from UNRWA, the Palestinian Ministry of Education, Jumbo company and World Vision.

Coming in first place were Widad Al Wohoush and Anagheem Khaled from UNRWA’s girls’ school in Halhoul, Hebron area, for their project of an electronic piano. Joint second prize went to groups from the Aida boys’ school in Bethlehem and the PA school in Qibya, north of Ramallah, for their respective projects on automatic lighting and electronic irrigation.

The improvement of technological and scientific learning in UNRWA schools is part of the Agency’s renewed effort to create new learning opportunities for young Palestine refugees and to equip them for future careers.

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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