Accelerating online teaching of Arabic from Palestine: New project between Palestine and UK

Saturday, November 24, 2018

In full partnership and cooperation with the University of Glasgow (UofG), UK, the Arabic Centre (AC) at the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) has started working on a new project for teaching Arabic for non-native speakers.

Entitled “Accelerating the impact of the Online Arabic from Palestine (OAfP) language course”, the project has 4 main objectives: 1) developing a Teachers’ Guide for OAfP that IUG and UofG launched last September, 2) developing a high quality website for IUG AC and OAfP, 3) training 15 Arabic language teachers to maximise the potential of the OAfP and 4) using online/mobile tools creatively for language teaching and disseminating the OAfP through workshops, webinar and social media to reach: services working with refugees in the UK (NGOs; statutory, volunteer); NGOs in Gaza; providers of Arabic as a foreign language.

The 5-month project (November 2018 – March 2019) is funded by the UK Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) to contribute to alleviate the high unemployment rates for young graduates in Gaza through capacity building and opening new employment opportunities for them.

The Project is codirected by both Dr Giovanna Fassetta, School of Education, UofG and Dr Nazmi Al-Masri, Faculty of Arts, IUG. It will be implemented by a specialisedteam from both universities. The expert team at IUG includes: Dr Nazmi (Co-Principle Investigator - Project Director), Husam Ayesh (Community Development InstituteArabic Centre Director), Miss Ola Lubbad, Mr Jehad Abu Jazar, Mr Yousef Diab, and Ms Lubna Al-Hajjar (course developers and teacher trainers), Miss Hala Shraim (Project Administrator).  The team will also involve IT experts and technicians for both digital development of OAfP and for Website.

The University of Glasgow team includes Dr. Giovanna Fassetta (Principal Investigator), Prof. Alison Phipps (Co-Investigator), Dr. Maria Grazia Imperiale (Research Associate) and Ms. Lauren Roberts (Project Administrator).

Dr Nazmi Al Masri, Project Director at IUG, said that the project will accelerate the impact of the course developed recently, Online Arabic from Palestine, to attract more international students to learn Arabic from Gaza. He added that such increase of learners would create more e-work opportunities for qualified and trained but unemployed teachers of Arabic.

Dr Al-Masri elaborated that all meetings between the British and the Palestinian team will be held via recent technologies. The first Skype-based meeting was held last week to plan and discuss the process of implementing the project professionally through specifying the activities to be conducted to achieve the four objectives mentioned above.

In this meeting, Dr Giovanna Fassetta (Principle Investigator at UofG) discussed with the project team the action plan for the project and distributed the tasks that will be carried out by both parties.

Mr. Husam Ayesh, Director of the IUG Arabic Centre, welcomed the team members from both universities and emphasised that this project is not the first cooperation between the 2 universities as it was preceded by several other projects such as Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the Body, Law and the State and Palestinian Arabic Online (OPAC) which resulted in launching of OAfP language course for beginner learners in September 2018.

These projects supported IUG AC to train dozens of foreign students in the field of Arabic language using the method of teaching face to face or Online over the past few years.

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