UNRWA elementary schools get a boost in English teaching

03 December 2010

3 December 2010

Teachers at ceremonyTo celebrate the completion of an education project funded by the European Union, 98 English teachers from UNRWA elementary schools were presented with certificates by H.E. Frances Guy, UK Ambassador to Lebanon. The ceremony was held on Friday 3 December 2010 in the UNRWA Field Office, Bir Hassan, and was attended by a host of EU representatives, UNRWA and British Council staff and trainers.

The intensive training on student-centred teaching methodology was entirely funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council in five different locations during June and July 2010.

The teachers recognised in today’s ceremony have already completed intensive English language training with the British Council and have passed the Cambridge First Certificate in English. This previous training exposed them to best practice teaching methods, which they later used in preparation for the Cambridge Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT).

The participating teachers achieved impressive results in all three modules of the TKT. To ensure effective transfer of the new techniques, UNRWA supervisors and the British Council trainers are currently conducting joint classroom observations in UNRWA schools across the country. These observation visits will extend until March 2011 as part of an effort to provide ongoing support and follow-up to participants.

In their respective speeches, the Head of the Operations Section at the Delegation of the European Union, Diego Escalona Paturel, the Director of the British Council, Barbara Hewitt, and the Deputy Director of UNRWA, Robert Hurt, welcomed those in attendance and highlighted the teachers’ achievements in successfully completing the training, while encouraging them, and others, to continue sharpening their skills through continuous professional development.

Thanking the European Union and the British Council for their continuous support, Robert Hurt stressed that one cannot “talk about education reform without talking about English teaching. Attaining a good knowledge of English is one of the greatest challenges that our education system faces,” adding that “a high quality of English is also crucial if children are to find their way into skilled and technical professions in later life.”

Stressing that this project is only a little stone in a much bigger mosaic of the European Union support to UNRWA education programmes, Mr Paturel expressed his hope that “the EU will be able to continue working with UNRWA teachers not only on improving the English language but also on methodologies and developing of teaching materials, individualised student support or extracurricular activities.”

Ms Hewitt added: “This is a very significant achievement for the 98 teachers involved. Armed with this qualification, they will be able to make a real difference to the teaching and learning of English across the UNRWA schools.”

The training comes within the framework of a major education project funded the European Union, which has donated 15 million Euros to improve education for Palestine refugees in Lebanon.

Through this project, children in UNRWA schools will receive qualified English language teaching. As more educators recognise the value of this and other carefully designed and effectively delivered training, generations of students will benefit from advanced skills and comprehension needed to thrive in our global society.


The European Union constitutes the largest provider of international assistance to Palestinian refugees. This funding takes different forms: an annual contribution to the UNRWA General Fund as well as humanitarian assistance and support for specific projects. Over the last decade, the EU alone has provided more than €1 billion of support to the Agency.

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Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

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

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Two UNRWA students from Gaza enjoy recess in their first day of school. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Rushdi Al-Saraj
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