In cooperation with the Palestinian Ministries of Finance, Education and Local Government, work was completed in June 2012 on a new school extension, which will benefit particularly girls living in marginalized rural areas.
Like every morning, Zada meets up with her friends on the way to school in the village of Ein Yabrud. She is in fifth grade and happy that she can now go on with her schooling. Until now the village has had a primary school but no secondary school. Since the cost of transport to the nearest secondary school ten kilometres away is more than many families can afford, their children often left school without any formal qualifications. More than half the schoolchildren in the village are girls, who have hitherto had no chance to continue their education and qualify for grammar school. The three new classrooms built onto Ein Yabrud’s primary school will enable the village children to continue to the tenth grade and obtain a formal qualification. In future this means better access to education for the 160 schoolchildren in Ein Yabrud and other villages in the Ramallah area.
Conflict prevention in schools
The new school extension was financed under the German-Palestinian “Future for Palestine” initiative with 60,000 euros in Federal Foreign Office funding. It is just one of many education infrastructure projects implemented under the initiative’s auspices since 2008. The projects carried out in this connection by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) are designed to improve education, health and cultural services for Palestinian communities. The intention is to offer them tangible prospects of a better future and thereby encourage non‑violent approaches to conflict resolution. In this way the initiative aims to strengthen moderate political forces in the Palestinian territories.
Capacity-building is a special feature of all projects funded under the initiative. Along with the girls’ school in Shofeh and the boys’ schools in the villages of Al Araqa and Wadi Al Farah, the co‑ed school in Ein Yabrud is participating in a pilot project to train pupils and teachers in conflict-handling skills. As most of these schools are situated very near settlements and checkpoints, the children have direct daily experience of the occupation.
Learning for daily life
In cooperation with the Education Ministry, a training course in participatory learning and teaching has been developed, incorporating also an educational methods module designed specifically for teaching staff. In addition to the course work and with the help of appropriate guidance, pupils devise their own projects aimed at combining active learning with a sense of personal achievement and enhancing their conflict-handling skills. The purpose of this pilot programme is twofold: to improve teaching methods and, in direct as well as indirect ways, to reduce violence and conflict. Working simultaneously with teachers and pupils is a key aspect of the programme. The aim is to develop both strategies for the classroom and new options for leisure time.