Supporting Inclusive Education During Covid 19
Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology
Palestine has a high literacy rate (a little over 97%) and education is considered a national and personal asset. After the break out of the Covid 10 pandemic, the whole educational process was interrupted as the country went into a lock down with limited readiness for online or distant education. A joint intervention to empower disadvantaged students was carried out to compensate for lost opportunities to have in-class education.
Palestine has a high literacy rate (a little over 97%) and education is considered a national and personal asset. After the break out of the Covid 10 pandemic, the whole educational process was interrupted as the country went into a lock down with limited readiness for online or distant education. The complexity of the issue was threefold: no digital content was available, both teachers and students lacked technical skills and there was a clear digital gap in terms of infrastructure and equipment. The problem was even worse for the marginalized groups and areas as the stress on financial resources added extra hardship. The Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology carried out several interventions to enable the continuation of the educational process by addressing the main issues. In collaboration with the Ministry of Education and private sector, a training program was organized for school teachers who teach the technology topic. Over 170 teachers were trained in online (digital) educational content creation, management and online teaching practices. These teachers, in turn, were trainers at their schools and districts. Digital inclusion was another intervention. The Ministry partnered with the private sector and the Ministry of Education to enable schools in marginalized areas to have access to the Internet using wireless or microwave services. Some schools benefited from free Internet access and computer equipment. The Ministry arranged from free access to educational resources, a no-cost increase in the speed of the Internet and deferred payments for the benefit of the educational sector. This also included higher education where professors were provided with free equipment in some cases and several Internet wireless providers were licensed to meet the increasing demand. The overall impact was keeping education accessible by all walks of the society in a safe and equitable fashion.
Equipped marginalized schools, teachers and pupils with the tools and infrastructure to resume education from a distance when school attendance was not a viable option. The restrictions on access to face to face classes was repeated several times and students are able to learn using the outputs of the intervention.
Collaboration and sharing resources, in addition to social responsibility, were the main success factors at a time when efforts and resources were redirected to emergency health efforts.
As this intervention is based on infrastructure and capacity building, minimum resources are needed to sustain it but scaling requires more resources. The Ministry of Education is providing content and platform keeping the process going.
Apart from interrupting physical presence during preparation, all activities are done online. The health safety aspect is taken care of but the psychological effects are abound for all school kids due to the pandemic, restrictions on social activities and inability to develop soft skills as in real educational environment.
SDGS & Targets
Deliverables & Timeline
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Students in rural areas and those disadvantaged were the main beneficiaries. The partnership included the Ministry of Education and the private sector (telecom, ISPs).