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UNRWA launches school based teacher development (SBTD) II programme in schools
The UNRWA education programme launched the School Based Teacher Development (SBTD) II programme in the five fields of operations: Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, West Bank and Jordan. The School Based Teacher Development (SBTD) programme is a key dimension of the UNRWA Education Reform Strategy (2011-2016). It focuses on enhancing the learning of all students, deepening teachers’ subject knowledge and enhancing pedagogic practices while simultaneously ensuring quality, equity and inclusiveness.
SBTD makes professional development available to teachers at the school level. This approach ensures that teachers try the new approaches and reflect on students’ responses as soon as they begin the programme. Dr Caroline Pontefract, UNRWA Director of Education, emphasized: “Research tells us that teachers learn best in-situ and this is exactly what SBTD helps them to do. The programme engages them from the first time they pick up the material.”
Raghda Idris, head of the Teacher Development and School Empowerment Unit, elaborated on the components of the SBTD II, explaining that is “a blended multimedia programme that consists of six core modules, each of which is dealing with a different aspect of active teaching and learning. It includes a portfolio, programme notebook, handbooks for teachers and school principals/education specialists, support sessions and a CD. The material is very attractive, engaging and interactive.” The material was developed by UNRWA staff at Headquarters (Amman) in collaboration with the five fields and outside experts.
The programme strengthens the mainstream UNRWA professional support systems by assigning active roles to school principals and education specialists. A handbook has been developed to assist school principals and education specialists in fulfilling their supportive role.
Overall, the SBTD II targets about 5,300 UNRWA teachers of Grades 7-12 in four core curriculum areas: Arabic, English, Mathematics and Science. In this way, SBTD II builds on the content of the previous SBTD I programme for teachers of Grades 1-6).
The UNRWA education programme will hold a two-day induction workshop in December 2015 across the occupied Palestinian territory, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Positive feedback from UNRWA teachers, especially those who completed SBTD I, indicates that there is widespread demand for the SBTD II and success is expected moving forward.
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 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem 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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