- The British Council, the UK's international organisation for education and culture, has announced a new approach towards English using digital teaching, and significant investment of $526,000 in East Jerusalem and Ramallah, starting with an innovative digital English learning programme called @Palestine
- The three-year investment programme will create new digital learning hubs and develop teaching expertise in the British Council’s East Jerusalem and Ramallah centres
- This pioneering approach will see the British Council work with partners first in the @Palestine initiative to help digital entrepreneurs and freelancers improve their English language and digital skills, with 5,000 people over 3 years benefitting throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
East Jerusalem: The British Council today announced plans to expand its work across East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, to enable more young Palestinians to access life-changing opportunities by developing English language and digital skills, participating in higher education exchange with the UK, and in civil society and arts programmes.
Martin Daltry, Director for the British Council in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, said: "There is a wealth of young talent in Palestine, and we want to support young people in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem with the skills they need to reach their aspirations for study and work. This is driving the change to the way we deliver our work.”
The British Council will expand its work in English teaching and establish two digital teaching hubs, in Ramallah and East Jerusalem, in the new year. The British Council will start with a new digital programme called @Palestine, building on its expertise in teaching. The programme will see two digital teaching hubs established in East Jerusalem, and Ramallah, staffed by expert teachers who will deliver English classes virtually to students using a computer or mobile, at home or at their office. The first specially designed course ‘English for Digital Freelancers’ will address the training needs of aspiring and self-identified digital freelancers and entrepreneurs in Gaza and the West Bank. Martin Daltry added: “By 2021 we plan to have supported the learning of 5,000 Palestinians, and to develop courses and access with local, UK and international partners for different audiences in Palestine, and potentially the Arab region.”
Eoin McCarthy, The Engineering Manager at Gaza Sky Geeks, added: “English is an important skill for Palestinian digital entrepreneurs and freelancers, especially for client communication. Software developers need English to get higher paid jobs. Helping people improve their ability to speak English will help the Palestinian IT sector grow internationally.”
Lina Shamia, Gaza Regional Manager Palestine Information Technology Association, PITA said: In Gaza, there is a growing digital culture, that is opening career opportunities for young Gazans. However, to harness opportunities to work outside Palestine, English is the language of business and ICT. The only problem, until now, especially in Gaza has been the lack of quality teaching and support and specialised skills.”
As part of this change, the British Council will end traditional face to face teaching in December. It will continue to deliver examination services and other programme activity in education, arts and civil society from its centres in East Jerusalem and Ramallah.
The British Council has been growing its work to cater for the diverse needs of young Palestinians and Palestinian institutions. Last year the British Council supported the professional development of 1,500 Palestinian English teachers working with Ministry of Education and Higher Education and UNRWA. This year, the British Council and partners will provide 42 scholarships to young Palestinian academics to study for Masters and PhD degrees in UK universities. Since 2012, over 200 Palestinians have benefited from the Higher Education Scholarship Palestine (HESPAL) programme which aims to build the next generation of Palestinian academics.