On Thursday, 19/07/2018, Press House - Palestine held a roundtable meeting at the Commodore Hotel in Gaza to discuss the challenges that face education and the importance of enhancing the liberal education. About 100 figures of decision-makers in the Legislative Council, the Ministry of Education, educational institutions, educational specialists and an elite group of media professionals have participated in this event.
In her speech, Samar Al-Malfouh, a Program Director at the Press House, welcomed the audience, affirming the role of Press House in embracing journalists and significant media issues. It also carried out several media projects that serve the community and support social, educational, legal and other urgent main issues.
She pointed to the role played by the Press House in supporting education, which is the most important pillar of Palestinian society. Adding that "a step towards better education" is a unique experiment to link media and education in order to involve journalists in educational issues and enhance their role in supporting education to create a more developed, civilized and liberal society.
The project coordinator, Salwa Al Manaema, presented a definition of the project explaining its objectives, which aims to develop the capabilities of journalists in identifying the needs, preparing researches, analyzing the reality of primary education, and supporting it through enhancing the liberal education curriculum.
She also provided an outline of the project methodology and a summary of the results achieved by the projects' team in identifying the needs. She mentioned the activities of the media campaign in which the project is based on to support education during the current stage. It includes writing articles and press reports, launching a hashtag campaign and radio broadcasts, which is supposed to be released during a press conference in the coming days.
The roundtable meeting consists of two sessions where five speakers, with five worksheets, have participated.
At the first session, the deputy Huda Naim from the Education Committee in the Legislative Council in Gaza presented three worksheets where she talked about the impact of political and economic conditions on education. Moreover, director of Planning in the Ministry of Education Rashid Abu Jahjouh talked about the reality of the Palestinian education in terms of curriculum, learner, teacher, the school's environment, in addition, to the educational supervision and rehabilitation in public schools. Adding to that, Dr. Riad Sedam reviewed the reality of education from the society's point of view mentioning some of the liberal experiences in education that some civil society institutions are working on and have actual results in order to achieve innovation and creativity.
The second session was opened with showing a short film that compares education in Palestine and Finland, which was reviewed by Mo'men Al-Sallaq, one of the trainees and participants in "Step" project, where participants learned about the most important educational aspects that Finland has adopted to develop their education specifically making the learner the core of the learning process.
Two worksheets were presented by the Palestinian researcher and writer Mr Talal Abu Rukba, where he spoke about the adequacy of educational guidance provided in schools to meet the educational needs of students.
He confirmed that the relationship between school guidance and education is an interactive and integrated relationship. In order to implement a liberal education, it is necessary to provide and apply a guiding process that empowers, strengthens and supports the individual to be creative and capable of freeing his educational and creative energies.
The last paper was presented by the Director of Educational Research and Development Office at the Abdul Mohsen Al-Qattan Foundation in Gaza, Ms. Ola Badawi, in which she talked about the kind of education we want.
"I remember how my education as a child was decades ago and I don't find it different from what happens in our schools today," she said.
She started telling us about her experience in the Center for Educational Research and Development and other experiences she had trying to implement liberal education curriculum, including "Pedagogia" and "Writings" projects in addition to the "Path of Science" and "Drama in the context of learning" experiences.
She pointed out that these experiences that adopt the liberal education approach seek to change the human behaviour of learners and build their ideas and skills for conversation, negotiation, analysis and innovation in various fields such as science, math, culture, arts, writing and reading.
She concluded her paper by emphasizing the need to expand and spread such approach and these practices of liberal learning and continuing to improve them.
At the end of each session, there was a general discussion between the participants and the audience, where they exchanged opinions and suggestions related to the reality of the educational needs.
At the conclusion of the four-hour meeting, the recommendations made by all of the participants were collected and will be studied and published through Press House to become as a reference in the hands of decision-makers and educators to improve and develop their strategies.
The roundtable meeting is one of the activities of the "Step to a Better Education" project carried out by Press House in partnership with the German
Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. Which seeks to highlight the most important challenges facing primary education in the Gaza Strip, advocates and raise awareness towards enhancing liberal education.