Palestine: Training in e-learning critical as return to education deferred

published 9 July 2020 updated 9 June 2021

As COVID-19 cases increased in Palestine, the General Union of Palestinian Teachers, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, led a project on e-learning. This has assumed greater significance as schools will not reopen in August as had been previously planned.

Over 2,500 members of the General Union of Palestinian Teachers (GUPT) participated in an e-learning training programme from mid-March until 1 June. The training was undertaken in anticipation of schools reopening in August – but the resumption of the school year has been deferred until September given the increase in COVID-19 cases in Palestine.

The GUPT training was aimed at developing teachers’ abilities to resort to e-learning. It also sought to build a new model of e-learning and to evaluate it through a study on the impact of the training on teachers’ attitudes and skills concerning e-learning.

New model

The training programme featured a Virtual Flipped Classroom (VFC), designed and presented by Hilmi Hamdan, an educational trainer, expert in e-learning and instructional designer, and Mohammad Jarrar, a graphic designer and trainer. Hamdan’s model in e-learning represents a mix between a flipped classroom and virtual meetings, and depends on synchronous and asynchronous platforms (such as Google Classroom, Zoom meetings):

Hierarchy of skills

GUPT members also identified subjects and skills they considered to be essential to start e-learning and the basics of building an e-learning infrastructure in Palestine, and to empower their 21st Century skills.

The requirements identified were:

  1. Using the educational platform instead of using social media sites and tools.
  2. Producing and editing learning videos.
  3. Training teachers on the microlearning and microteaching concepts.
  4. Producing an interactive e-test as a learning tool and using video and websites to this end.
  5. Training teachers on assessment issues, using rubrics as tools when assessing students’ work instead of traditional exams.
  6. Enhancing teachers’ abilities to use the VFC.

Empowering trainers

Training participants further discussed the results of the study carried out and investigated the effects of this training on teachers’ attitudes toward e-learning and the impact it had on developing their skills to better use e-learning tools and applications.

In addition, the new GUPT training department, managed by Hamdan and Jarrar, will be developed to train more than 50 trainers. These new trainers will then proceed to train thousands of teachers in e-learning in Palestine.

Safe return to school

The GUPT and the Ministry of Education also discussed the best ways to organise a safe physical return to schools. The union and the ministry agreed to use e-learning in the new educational year, which will start at the beginning of September 2020. This decision was officially adopted on 6 July during the last government session.

Education International’s Guidance on Reopening Schools and Education Institutions is available here.