The Arab American University-Jenin (AAUJ) has strong graduate and undergraduate programs in math and is currently seeking accreditation for another in math education. It currently has nine faculty members at the associate and assistant professor levels. There is one faculty member with PhD in education and another with a PhD in Math Education will be added soon. Many of the mathematics faculty members are involved in mathematics teacher preparation. AAUJ has developed a strategic partnership with Al-Qasemi Academy, a Palestinian university inside the green line with strong programs in primary and science education and teacher certification, to supply the consortium with subject and pedagogical experience. AAUJ has partnered with BZU and Al-Quds University last year in the QIF funded Teacher Education project to develop a Diploma in Education program with the possibility of focusing on Math. AAUJ has the capacity for e- and blended learning programs and can offer the online platform to conduct training of online math education. The Information and Communication Technology Center for Development (ICT4D) at AAUJ will play a very important role in the project.
Al-Quds University presently offers the B.Ed. program in math while BU is the process of getting accreditation in math education. It also has a graduate diploma program that needs upgrading to comply with the Strategy, and it can benefit from the long experience of Birzeit in teacher preparation. All three universities have strong departments in their faculties of arts and faculties of science that offer strong preparation of teachers in different subjects, ranging from physics and mathematics to Arabic, history and geography. Since the majority of the students graduating form such departments end up as school teachers, the Project will help prepare these graduates for teaching before they graduate, and not leave them to learn only form experience, in most cases at the expense of the school students.
However, the existing programs in member universities, and of course all other universities, need upgrading to comply with the recommendations of the Strategy and the new standards for teachers being developed by the newly-established Commission for the Development of the Teaching Profession.
The consortium members have contacted a renowned international university, namely, the Institute of Education, University of London, who replied positively to the submitted concept note and submitted a bid for the consortium to be the official international consultant through the project. Representatives of two member universities have visited IOE on May 28, 2010, discussed the scope and philosophy of the proposal with IOE top administrators and coordinated activities to be conducted in a logical and effective order to maximize benefits to the tertiary education in Palestine. Both teams have expressed a genuine desire to work together on the project.
The three universities cover a major geographical area of the West Bank, with the Arab American University being specifically important because its graduates will be almost the sole source of teachers for the north region of the West Bank, a region that at present has no institution that offers a math education programs for the secondary and middle school levels. However, it is expected that the impact of the Project will extend beyond these direct beneficiaries. It will upgrade existing programs in the three Palestinian universities based on the EU experience. Also graduated students will be indirectly.