MIT Meeting follow-up towards Enhancing Science in Palestine

MIT Meeting follow-up towards Enhancing Science in Palestine

26 November, 2020

As a follow up to the third international meeting for science in Palestine, held at MIT 10-12 January 2020, and following discussions at MIT, the three different exploratory committees produced reports following the MIT meeting that were identified in the previous meeting in March 2020,  

The exploratory education committee developed a proposal for initiating and launching a “Mentorship Program for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) for young Palestinian academics (not excluding other academics) in STEMM education and research at Palestinian Universities,” that was adapted by PALAST. It circulated to all Palestinian Universities in West Bank and Gaza for their feedback and approval.

A mentorship Committee will be established from all Universities to set the mutual objectives towards academic promotion, the necessity to have training on mentors and mentees on effective mentorship, and optimize the practice of mentoring and include blended learning into mentorship. As the adoption of blended learning was less smooth in Palestine than other institutions, with a lack of technological tools and resources needed to design content, lack of experience in developing blended curricula and content. Hence, there is no feedback from previous experiments, and the need to create blended courses related to their curricula directly as curricula from other universities is not useful since it is very different. This is of particular importance in enhancing studies online. 

For this purpose, a list of connections will be established with help from S4P and other international partners to create a global mentor network. 

The MISTI program and undergraduate research experience 

There is a structure at MIT called MISTI (MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives) sponsoring students to work in some lab, and this program could be part of the mentorship program.
 The University program in Palestine is very course-based, with little room for research. There is much stress on doing research projects of a fundamental type in the USA, not cutting edge. MIT has an undergrad research program. That will be useful by:

  • Engaging Palestinian students with MIT students in small focused research programs, and have faculty in USA and Palestine. 
  • Generating joint research projects in maths, contacts also in biological and engineering departments, trying to find common interests at a level accessible for undergrads and master students.

Professional development webinars

The exploratory education committee had a meeting under the umbrella of PALAST, contacted seven societies in science and technology (Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Mathematics, Communication and information technology, Plant Production and Protection, environment). To draw up an action plan. Proposal of two webinars from each society will be received to have a monthly webinar tackling different issues.