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From Finland to Gaza, A Working Visit to Support Education

  • 05.18.2019

In visit to IUG, Representative Office of Finland in Ramallah checks out the progress of 2017-2020 FinPal Project. Head of Cooperation at Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland- Mrs. Paula Malan has conducted a working visit to the Islamic University in a view to follow up the progress of FinPal Project, which has been funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Finland and implemented in collaboration with Tampere University-Finland.

The main aim of this project is to improve the pedagogical competences of academic staff and teaching capacity at IUG in addition to other local universities in Gaza. "This aim has been carried out so far, and we are in the process of transferring these competences to local universities in Gaza," Prof. Nazmi clarified.

Malan's meeting with the FinPal team in IUG Presidency office was part of a sustainable cooperation between Palestine and Finland in terms of serving the educational field. In the commencement, the director of FinPal Prof. Nazmi Almasri extended his thanks and gratitude to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the patronizing hub of the project which implemented under the umbrella of Higher Institutional Cooperation Instrument HEI ICI. Many thanks must go to the Tampere University of Finland for their dedication, punctuality, flexibility, and excellence.

"We have been working with them now for almost three years and it has been really more than perfect. We learnt a lot from our partners in Tampere and they transferred a number of skills," said Prof. Nazmi

The project has put a number of plans into practice. In the first year, detailed reports were prepared about the pedagogical competences that are available in IUG. This step has done through bilingual survey, which was disseminated over 400 academics; thus, based on the results the team in Tampere were preparing the Training programme.

The second year has witnessed the establishment of the Academic Excellence Unit, which belongs to the IUG Quality and Development Deanship, the responsible for ensuring the sustainability of the project and guaranteeing the dissemination of skills acquired during this project.

Commenting on the success of online Training of Trainers Programme, Prof. Almasri confirmed: "This was a good experience to overcome the crisis of mobility".

 Long time ago, IUG has managed to improve a good IT infrastructure that could back up the process of communication with European universities.  

"The training was the heart of the project," he inserted.

Training of Trainers has covered five modules through five intensive seminars, which lasted six months. The aftermath of the Training of Trainers programme will change the gears from being trainees to be trainers for 100 academics: 80 from IUG, 20 from other universities in Gaza as the new trainers will be developing a training material to be taught through a bilingual website. Information and pedagogies acquired during the course to be published on special Facebook page. The programme will be focusing thoroughly on the practical pedagogical practices rather than theories and basics.

Responding on the project's achievements, Mrs. Malan wondered about the coming plans of the project itself and the linkages with Palestinian universities.

"We have FULL cooperation with the Ministry of Higher Education and most of Palestinian Universities, as well.  All of IUG Programs are accredited by the Ministry," said one of the Project members Prof. Bassam Saqqa.