The Teacher Creativity Center (TCC), Ministry of Education (MoE) and Education Program at the United Nations Work and Relief Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) concluded the central arbitration of the winning projects in the local arbitration in the Gaza Strip, on Wednesday and Thursday 2-3/5/2012. This step is part of the activities of Project Citizen, implemented each year in Palestinian schools; this year Khan Younis Secondary School for Girls won the first prize among UNRWA schools for tackling the issue of marginalization and disintegration of disabled students, while Um Selma Primary School for Girls won the first place among participating public schools by tackling the issue of developing a secondary school for Girls in the East Khan Younes area.
The arbitration convened with Mr. Talaat Bthatho, the Director of the Teacher Creativity Center in Gaza, who praised the efforts of the students, teachers, supervisors, school principals and heads of educational directorates; additionally, he thanked officials in the MoE and the educational program of the UNRWA for their explicit efforts in succeeding the project; Bthatho also extended his gratitude every single individual who supported and aided the students, emphasizing the need to employ acquired skills to develop community work, social responsibility and cooperative development, in order to upgrade one’s behavior and practices, and empower them in order to express their issues and problems in a healthy manner, such that all this leads to mainstreaming good citizenship and enhances citizenship concepts among the Palestinian people.
During the central arbitration sessions, 18 schools presented their projects, the majority of which focused on tackling issues related to disabled students, environmental problems and educational, psychological and social issues. UNRWA schools presented 11 qualitative projects, where Breij Secondary School “B” for Girls presented a project about solving the issue of anemia among schools students, and Maghazi Secondary School “B” presented a project about tackling the issue of decline in reading, while Western Rafah Secondary School “D” for Girls presented a project that deals with the decline in basic needs for numerous students, and Rafah Secondary School “A” for Girls presented a project to solve the problem in the educational system in regards to lack of discipline, while Jabalya Secondary School “B” for Boys presented a project that tackled the issue of overcrowdings in the school street, and Beit Lahia Secondary School for Girls presented a project about the care of orphaned children, and Gaza Secondary School “B” for Girls presented a project about integrating unprivileged students in the society, while Rammal Secondary School for Girls presented a project about the lack of financial support to Dawn Syndrome students. Concerning other UNRWA schools, Shate’ Secondary School “B” for Girls presented a project about the issue of fishermen and the extent to which they abide with fishing regulations, while Khan Younes Secondary School “C” for Girls tackled the issue of marginalization of the disabled and disintegration in the community, and finally Fakhari Secondary School for Girls presented a project that tackled the issue of lack of appropriate sitting places in schools.
Additionally, seven public schools presented qualitative projects. Abd Al Raouf School for Boys presented a project about the safety on Salah Al Din road, and Sulaiman Sultan Secondary School “A” for Boys presented a project about the integration of the disabled in the community, while Msamya Secondary School for Girls presented a project about the rehabilitation of Ribat street while focusing on the infrastructure component; also, Qiasrya Secondary Coeducational School presented a project about the garbage in the Hujr Deek area, while Emwas Primary School “A” for Girls presented a project about paving the road leading to the school, and Tareq Ibn Ziad Coeducational School presented a project about the adversaries and misuse of internet, and finally Selma Primary School for Girls tackled the issue of establishing a secondary school for girls in the area, leading it to win the first place in the competition.
The students expressed their happiness and delight at participating in Project Citizen, where they defended their work and accomplishments in the project in front of the arbitration committee, who in turn delivered questions, inquiries and guidance to the students. Student Mohammad Abu Awwad confirmed that he invested significant effort in order to reach this stage, adding that the project developed and enhanced several skills, including communication with officials in the society and addressing and confronting community members. Also, student Zain Taweel said that the project promoted her self esteem and courage to tackled social issues.
Dr. Ayman Abu Shamaleh, a member of the arbitration committee, emphasized the importance of the project to the students, since it helped the students acquire skills and expertise, and developed a sense of feeling for the problems around them, in addition to enhancing initiative and courage in decision making. The project also enhanced the link between the students and the community, comprehension of the roles of the legislative, executive and judicial authorities; the project also worked on promoting social responsibility in that the students visited organizations to discuss their problems with them, asking them to aid them in finding solutions to their problems and the problems of the community.
Bthatho confirmed that the central arbitration of the “5th Generation” comes in conclusion of Project Citizen 2012; additionally, Bthatho added that a final arbitration will select one of the winning two schools to participate in the local arbitration, in which eight Arab countries would participate.
Bthatho also noted that 80 public and UNRWA schools participated in Project Citizen 2012, in which the projects aimed to determine solutions for various problems. A conclusion ceremony will be held later, Bthatho announced, where all participating schools would attend.