IT Helps Build Palestinian Communities

May 2, 2009 ANERA
Categories:
Education, Information Technology, Job Creation, Vocational Training, West Bank
Locations:
The Hassib Sabbagh IT Center of Excellence at the Arab American University in Jenin, West Bank, where Palestinians improve their business skills. Entrance to the Hassib Sabbagh IT Center of Excellence at the Arab American University in Jenin.

There is a serious lack of employment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but three students of Palestinian universities have high hopes for their futures. They recently completed ANERA’s information technology (IT) training programs at Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron and the Arab American University of Jenin. In November each of these universities opened a state-of-the-art center dedicated to IT training. These centers were made possible through the support of ANERA and its board members.

Ibrahim and Maher will soon graduate from the Arab-American University of Jenin and want to use their talents constructively. Interestingly, they both want to stay home after they graduate in order to help develop their communities.

IT centers across Palestine are improving job skills for young Palestinians who must compete in today’s tough market. 

“I have worked on a project, the first of its kind in Palestine, that enables mobile phones to monitor shares on the Palestinian Securities Exchange,” said Ibrahim. “My partners and I hope we can have this service bought by a Palestinian mobile phone service.”

Maher already is trying to give back to his community. “I helped create a program for municipalities that helps computerize city functions. The idea is to make the city’s services easier and more efficient. I am now waiting for a response from the city of Qalqilia. This is a program that could be used in all Palestinian cities.” He added, “I hear [about] people wanting to go and live abroad. But I really feel I should stay and help my country.”

The main entrance to the Said Khoury IT Center of Excellence at Al Quds University, where Palestinians improve their business skills.

The main entrance to the Said Khoury IT Center of Excellence at Al Quds University

Wa’el, a bright and humble young man who graduated from the IT training program at Palestine Polytechnic Institute in Hebron (PPU) in 2004 now works for the university, both as an instructor and as an application developer at the university’s Friends of Fawzi Kawash IT Center of Excellence.

“I realized that I received good training when I stood in front of a class and had to start teaching…I realized that I could in fact teach them,” he said

Wa’el is optimistic about the future prospects of those students in this field, “of course, our training gives the basics, all of the foundations, and it is up to the students to make good use of this training in their future careers … All of the friends who graduated with me have found jobs or have gone on to graduate study either here or abroad.”

According to the director of PPU training program, Dr. Radwan Tahboub, “the new IT training program has affected the culture of the university. The university has seen how effective and important the training programs are and have integrated similar courses and programs into their computer science curriculum. This is a program that is an influence for positive change in the university as a whole.”

 

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