Tertiary education in Palestine is at a crossroads – not to say at a crisis point. While professors complain about the low level or lack of academic skills, students complain about exams being too challenging and even have gone on strike. A young person is expected to obtain a university degree. But why should everyone be expected to thrive in academia when there is a dire need for technicians, artisans, and skilled workers? Unfortunately, vocational education carries a stigma in Palestine and is considered suitable only “for dropouts,” as one of this issue’s authors explains. Twenty years ago, a foreign friend of mine and his wife came to Palestine to assist in developing vocational training for persons with special needs. Initially, he felt very intimidated that everyone he met was either a student or a university graduate. He was “only” a plumber. After one year, in which he remodeled the apartment they were renting in downtown Nablus, he told me that he felt much better about himself. He had come to appreciate his high level of workmanship. Abroad, there are eight to ten technicians for every engineer. The opposite situation is true for Palestine. This issue makes clear that another solution exists to solve unemployment (among university graduates and others) and raise the level of workmanship.
This Week in Palestine extends its sincere gratitude to UNDP/PAPP for carrying this issue’s Gold Sponsorship and heartfelt appreciation to those who chose us as a platform to inform about their services. We also thank the authors who have contributed to this issue: Yvonne Helle, UNDP/PAPP’s Special Representative of the Administrator, and Motaz Dawabsheh, programme portfolio manager, and Nada Nabris, TVET project manager at UNDP/PAPP; Dr. Ziad Jweiles, executive president of the National TVET Commission; Mazen Hashweh, a leading human capacity expert with close to 30 years of expertise locally and regionally in vocational education and training; Peter Nasir, general secretary of the East Jerusalem YMCA; Mounir Kleibo, Special Representative of the ILO Office in Jerusalem; Sireen Hoso, the Gender and Inclusion Officer at Lutheran World Foundation–Jerusalem; Noha Bawazir, head of Palestine’s UNESCO office; Yousef Shalian, chairperson of the TVET League in Palestine; May Amireh, supervisor of the Economic Empowerment program and vice president of the NGO TVET League; Basem Banishamsa, a professional trainer with extensive experience in training young people; Dr. Hadeel Rizq-Qazzaz, a gender and development researcher and women’s rights activist; Dr. Ayman Abu Swerih, director of Irada Center for Rehabilitation and Vocational Training in Gaza; and Motaz Omar, an employee of the General Directorate of Vocational Education in the Palestinian Ministry of Education. Our Personality of the Month is Dr. Ziad Jweiles, and Historical Personality of the Month is Father Ibrahim Ayyad. Fida Jiryis’s Stanger in My Own Land is our Book of the Month, and Raeda Taha is the Artist of the Month. Wildlife in Palestine presents the Palestine Sunbird. Enjoy the listed events!
The entire team at TWiP wishes you a good start to the fall season. In case you plan to visit Palestine, remember that according to the new rules, you now have to report to the Israeli military authorities within 30 days if you fall in love with a Palestinian!
By Tina Basem