UNRWA reaches 'landmark' British Council cooperation deal

UNRWA reaches 'landmark' British Council cooperation deal
The deal offers the chance to improve UNRWA's English-language offering, boost teachers' capacity and link domestic concerns with international matters such as climate change.
2 min read
07 June, 2022
UNRWA's Philippe Lazzarini said the UN agency is 'innately proud of its students and teaching staff' [Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto/Getty-archive]

The UN's Palestinian refugee agency said it reached a "landmark" cooperation deal with the British Council educational charity on Monday.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini and British Council Chief Executive Scott McDonald signed the document in Jordan's capital, Amman, with the UN agency saying this had "cemented" the two organisations' relationship.

The deal is a recognition of cooperation that has been ongoing for a decade, and which assists UNRWA in educating more than 500,000 Palestinian refugees across the Middle East.

McDonald said: "This long-standing partnership has been imperative in creating educational and professional development opportunities for young people.

"In a fast-changing world, it is essential to equip and provide access to develop, grow and adapt.

"I am certain that this synergy between our organisations will foster new development and excellence in the English language, help tackle challenges and build the capacity of teachers and young people."

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The Global Schools Programme is part of the deal with the British Council.

This "helps build the capacity of teachers" and links domestic concerns with international matters such as climate change and gender equality, in addition to IT in education.

It also offers UNRWA the chance to widen its English-language offering in schools across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and besieged Gaza, as well as in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria – regional countries where the UN agency provides services.

Lazzarini said: "The Agency is innately proud of its students and teaching staff across the region, whose talent, skills and critical thinking can greatly benefit from this cooperation.

"As educators worldwide discuss the benefits and challenges of online learning, UNRWA is pioneering with a digital learning programme that will protect students in case of crises."

He added that UNRWA has learned from coronavirus shutdowns and conflicts in crafting its strategy.

Lazzarini said 80 UNRWA schools were given the British Council's International School Award during the past two years, with many others having gained this recognition previously.