US$20 million for the first phase of long-term investment in the Palestinian education sector

WASHINGTON/PNN/

The World Bank approved its first Multiphase Programmatic Approach (MPA) in the education sector globally, in support of an eight-year program that addresses key education challenges in West Bank and Gaza, today said a World Bank press release.

With the approved $20 million from an expected overall envelope of $60 million, the “Supporting an Education Reform Agenda for improving Teaching, Assessment and Career Pathways” Program (SERATAC, which means your life journey or pathway in Arabic) aims at improving education outcomes of primary and secondary students and increase student pathways leading to tertiary education.

Despite high enrollment rates in primary and secondary school, poor quality of education services is holding back human capital development in West Bank and Gaza. Palestinian children can, on average, expect to complete 12.2 years of schooling; however, they are only learning the equivalent of eight years. SERATAC aims to tackle the root causes of poor quality education through a long-term, systemic approach.

“We are proud to adopt a long-term investment in the Palestinian education sector, the first multiphase programmatic approach in the education sector at the World Bank. Not only does it ensure a nationwide visible impact on learning outcomes, but it also provides equal opportunity for every child performing below grade level. Through this progressive education reform agenda, we share the common goal with the Palestinian Authority to develop and unlock the full potential of its human capital”, said Kanthan Shankar, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza.

SERATAC will support the Ministry of Education’s efforts to raise foundational skills and the well-being of Palestinian primary school students. This will include improvements to early grade Arabic language arts instruction (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) in Grades 1–4, and the promotion of positive school and classroom climates that are conducive to student learning and wellbeing.

As Palestinian students move to upper primary and lower secondary education, large deficiencies in science and mathematics skills become visibly manifest. SERATAC will strengthen students’ STEM skills through improved pre-service and in-service teacher training and the roll-out of an innovative adaptive learning program. It will also develop an effective career guidance system that helps secondary school students make informed career choices and be better equipped to pursue those choices.

SERATAC will also strengthen the Palestinian student assessment system so that it promotes and incentivizes learning at all grade levels. Namely, the program will support the Ministry of Education to gradually reform the secondary school leaving examination (Tawjihi) and create a more inclusive pathway to tertiary education, including technical vocational colleges.

“Gradually, these components will build toward the long-term vision of SERATAC: a first cohort of Palestinian students who have completed a cursus of high-quality general education and is ready to enter the labor market or tertiary education on a strong footing. Education should be a race where everyone wins,” said Samira Nikaein Towfighian, World Bank Senior Economist and co-Task Team Leader.

SERATAC also intends to ensure the continued availability and effective use of high-quality data from national and international assessments, through its long-term support for West Bank and Gaza’s participation in PISA 2022, 2025 and 2028, and TIMSS 2023 and 2027.

“After a decade-long absence from international large-scale assessments, West Bank and Gaza will be able to construct comparable trends in Palestinian student learning outcomes over time, that continuously inform policymaking and provide essential information on which to base decisions regarding school and system improvement, focused on the central goal of student learning”, said Samira Ahmed Hillis, World Bank Program Leader for Human Development and co-Task Team Leader.

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