28. October 2016
World Bank Visits Bethlehem University for Negotiations about Further Cooperation
On Friday, October 28th, a delegation of the World Bank Group consisting of the Director of Strategy and Operations for the Middle East and North Africa Region, Ms. Antonella Bassani, the Country Director, Mrs. Marina Wes, the Director of the Project Coordination Unit of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Ms. Suha Khalili, and the Program Leader, Ms. Samira Hillis, visited Bethlehem University.
As the World Bank and Bethlehem University had a very fulfilling and prolific partnership in the past, with the World Bank supporting and funding several teaching and training programs, both sides hoped to continue and advance this partnership.
Therefore, Dr. Irene Hazou, Vice President for Academic Affairs and her colleagues, Mr. Rizek Sleibi and Dr. Hala Rashed from the Faculty of Education, presented a newly adjusted program for pre-service education of teachers. In a four level program providing internships and further practical education to future teachers, the persons responsible have to react to the recent changes in university education. The Ministry of Education and Higher Education published the new curriculum shortly before the start of this semester- too little time for the teachers to prepare. This is why it would be irresponsible to give them even more work while they are already struggling with adopting the new curriculum and providing accurate lessons at the same time, especially without a better payment. For this reason, Bethlehem University needs more financial scope to be able to provide this very important part of teachers’ education. Additionally, the program has to be fitted to the new curriculum.
Secondly, Mr. Nabil El-Mufdi, Director of the Institute for Hotel Management and Tourism (IHMT), and Mr. Moussa Rabadi, Director of the Institute for Community Partnership (ICP), introduced a second program to the delegation. The IHMT is already one of the key parts of Bethlehem University. Nevertheless, “there is always a better way”, as Vice Chancellor Br. Peter Bray likes to say. For that reason, IHMT not only wants to expend in the future, but also constantly works on improving its curriculum. Together with the World Bank, Mr. Nabil El-Mufdi wants to build “a new model curriculum, which is more dynamic and market driven in order to achieve the highest possible graduate employment rate!” Therefore, the University needs to run researches to predict the future development of the holistic market. Furthermore, according to the contributers, a major key to success is building sustainable partnerships in the private sector, e.g. with big hotels and restaurants. Those partnerships would be helpful in terms of market researches and placement after graduation as well as in providing internships for actual work life experiences.
The World Bank could take a major part in this program creating more resources and connecting the University with new partners. What makes the program even more interesting is that it would not only help Bethlehem University, but also every university in the West Bank which use the “model curriculum” elaborated at Bethlehem University.
The delegation of the World Bank took an interest in the plans presented. Therefore, both sides are keen to continue this long lasting and sustainable partnership for the favor of the Palestinian youth.