Partnership agreement to connect 76 remote West Bank schools to the internet

Ramallah/PNN/

Palestinian Ministry of Education (MoE), the Palestinian Ministry of Telecom and Information Technology (MTiT), the Palestinian Telecommunications Company (Paltel), and UNICEF joined in partnership today to link 76 remote West Bank schools to the internet to ensure that nearly 10,000 students, and 1,000 teachers are connected to online learning. The partnership agreement was signed by Prof. Dr. Marwan Awartani, the Minister of Education, Dr. Ishaq Sidder, the Minister of Telecom and Information Technology, Mr. Maen Melhem, the CEO of Paltel, and Ms. Lucia Elmi, UNICEF Special Representative to the State of Palestine.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a climate that poses a significant threat, now and in the future, to children and their families. For many children, education has been severely disrupted. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, about half of all households in the State of Palestine are unable to access remote learning for children due to internet unavailability. This situation is further compounded among children already affected by poverty, disability, or social exclusion.

“The project is in line with the ministry current strategy and priorities, including its response to the technological and digital needs, and emerging challenges due to COVID-19 pandemic. The ministry response to these challenges and needs comes from the firm belief in the importance of providing equitable and quality education to Palestinian students especially in remote areas and area “C”. Said the Palestinian Minister of Education Prof. Dr. Awartani

“It is crucial to reach a state of harmony among all partners including the government, the private sector, and international partners, to support education, and face the current challenges to link and provide Palestinian schools with Internet and other quality electronic services.” Stressed Prof. Dr Awartani

Minister of Telecom and Information Technology praised the efforts made to make this cooperation a success, and the importance of this partnership that brings together the public and private sectors while stressing that education and technology are linked to each other. “We are committed to the sustainable development goals by ensuring that all members of the society have equal access to quality education.”

“Our goal at the Ministry is to provide services to all Palestinians, and to build a secure communications network that guarantees the continuity of work successfully and to the fullest and without discrimination.”

Through this partnership, 76 schools in remote West Bank locations will have access to the internet. At the end of the project some 10,000 students and 1,000 teachers will be able to access educational resources and opportunities. Most of these schools are in the West Bank’s “Area C”, one of its most underserved areas.

“We are excited about this project, as it will help thousands of girls and boys and their teachers to connect to education resources via the internet,” said UNICEF’s Lucia Elmi. “We are working to reimagine education. This includes centering the public and private sectors on the needs of Palestinian children, to transform education, and at a scale reach to thousands of children, particularly in the most vulnerable areas in the State of Palestine.”

“Over the past years, Paltel has been keen to launch several initiatives that provide internet for schools, in addition to providing a set of digital services that allow students to view the curriculum by using the latest platforms and smart applications in light of the adoption of e-learning after the COVID-19 pandemic”. Said Maen Melhem, CEO of Paltel.

“We are proud of this partnership that brings us together with UNICEF to launch this educational project, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Telecom and Information Technology, so that Palestine remains a pioneer in developing and keeping pace with technical developments and integrating them in various sectors”.

This new partnership is part of UNICEF’s global “Giga” initiative, which was launched in 2019 in cooperation with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to connect every school to the internet by 2030, and ensure every young person has access to educational resources and opportunities. In 2021, it connected over 3,200 schools and 700,000 students to the Internet. The Giga global partnership is part of the Generation Unlimited initiative to prepare young people to become productive and engaged citizens

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