From 7 to 9 February, the UNRWA TV team, part of the Gaza Field Communications Office, conducted casting auditions for 117 students aged between 9 and 12 years from UNRWA schools across Gaza. The auditions were to select the new team of child actors for the production of the second educational programme season on UNRWA TV. The casting auditions took place at the UNRWA TV studio in the Gaza Field Office, from which the 16 most talented students will be chosen to work alongside the TV team over the summer break, from June to September 2017.
“We aim to develop new, non-stereotypical forms of education by using creative and interesting teaching tools such as singing, drama, dancing and playing. The criteria to choose the children who will participate is simple: as the children are required to teach and explain the curriculum to other children, they need to be strong communicators and high achievers in school. In addition, they should have some singing, dancing and acting skills,” said 30-year-old Mahmoud Abu-Sal, one of the producers of the programme, which is part of the UNRWA TV Education in Emergencies project.
The educational season is planned to be broadcast in the next school year (2017/18) starting in September. For this purpose, the selected students and the UNRWA TV team will produce a total of 32 innovative lessons – eight episodes for each of the core subjects of English, Arabic, mathematics and science.
Eleven-year-old Yara Deeb is one of the students auditioning and feels excited about the UNRWA TV programmes: “I used to watch UNRWA TV and learned many things from it. I then decided that I also want to be like the children in the TV. There are limited opportunities in Gaza to practice acting, and I see UNRWA TV as my only chance. In addition, it would be an interesting hobby to fill my free time during the summer break.”
During the casting, the selection panel asked the children to sing a song, recite a poem, invent an imaginary story and perform a prepared play to test their acting skills, self-confidence, imagination, creativity and ability to explain educational content to other children.
UNRWA TV was established in early 2012 as a production unit and broadcaster. It broadcasts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Besides humanitarian communication programming, it brings innovative educational lessons to affected children in all fields. During 2016, the UNRWA TV crew, in cooperation with the Agency’s Gaza Education Programme, developed the first season of the new educational project and for the first time applied a ‘children teaching children’ approach. In total, the team produced 24 episodes for the core subjects of Arabic, English, science and mathematics. Promotional videos are currently broadcast on UNRWA TV and its associated YouTube channel and can be viewed here: Arabic, English, mathematics and science.