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Empowering Palestinian girls through digital learning innovations in STEM fields

West Bank and Gaza
Project ID
Total Funding
CAD 1,044,000.00
IDRC Officer
Ruhiya Seward
Project Status
End Date
36 months

Programs and partnerships

Networked Economies

Lead institution(s)

Project leader:
Osama Mimi
West Bank and Gaza


In West Bank and Gaza, fewer than half of all children successfully complete high school.Read more

In West Bank and Gaza, fewer than half of all children successfully complete high school. Girls in particular face barriers to accessing quality education, leading to significant societal and economic impacts because many will not have opportunities to earn higher wages or achieve greater social mobility. The education system faces a variety of challenges, including access to qualified teachers, social and gender biases, and access to appropriate educational resources.

As part of its drive to develop educational models that make a significant improvement to the educational system, Palestinian Ministry of Education is releasing a new curriculum for grades 5-12 designed to emphasize educational best practices. Part of this curriculum plan involves distributing computers and tablets to students. If the implementation of this new curriculum is to be successful, teachers will need training appropriate to the new pedagogical context.

This project, implemented in collaboration with Birzeit University, seeks to assist teachers in adopting the new curriculum and learning paradigms. It will also contribute to the evolution of the curriculum as it is revised over the next few years (including such concepts as how to work with gender, technology, social change, and the future of work). The project also aims to support the development of quality open educational resources in the Arabic language.

Finally, this project seeks to amplify the use of digital tools for education by supporting interactive teaching that helps students design, make, collaborate, innovate, and code. It will test hypotheses on how training and access to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and digital skills can open new routes to employment and to life-long learning opportunities for girls and other excluded communities. It will also conduct research on a scalable approach to learning by developing and testing digital educational tools that improve the quality and accessibility of education for girls.

The project should lead to strengthened technical and human capacities of the selected schools to develop and implement locally relevant digital learning innovations, especially in the STEM fields. These strengthened capacities will contribute to the creation of an inclusive and stimulating learning environment to produce more engaged, creative, and motivated girls. Finally, the project should result in a better understanding of the effectiveness of different digital learning innovations targeting girls in the STEM areas. Ultimately, the project will seek to inform the Palestinian Ministry of Education policy on digitizing education.

Research outputs

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In 2016, Birzeit University began to implement the Experiential Learning Objects (xLOBs) model, partnering with the Palestinian Ministry of Education. The report traces development and successful capacity building for xLOBs, which was undermined by Jordanian educational minister, Marwan Awartani in 2019. With COVID-19, the urgent need for online learning prompted an independent learning scheme based on the xLOBs model, and this was further developed outside of the formal ministry. The report highlights how innovation alone is not sufficient to transform education in autocratic dictatorship systems. The project verified that xLOBs achieved their learning outcome goals for students, with significant impact on teacher practices.

Osama Mimi
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