IPSO's involvement in the field of science education takes place in two projects: The Israeli-Palestinian Cooperation in Science Education and in a Pilot Science Education Website.
The Israeli-Palestinian cooperation in science education program
IPSO’s Activities in Science Education stem from its mission statement which includes Science Education as one of IPSO’s major fields of activity, as well by participating in The Israeli-Palestinian Cooperation in Science Education, a €2.8 million project launched in July 2003 and terminated recently. It was a cooperative project of the Palestinian Al-Quds University (AQU) and the Israeli office of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies (ACBP). They both initiated this cooperation program and were its principal partners.
It could be implemented thanks to generous funding provided by the European Commission, the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies (ACB) and the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation of New York. Three other distinguished Israeli institutions played significant roles in the program and in the cooperation efforts: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Weizmann Institute of Research and the Bloomfield Science Museum, Jerusalem (BSMJ).
This project stemmed from a shared understanding that given its lack of natural resources, Palestine’s future (like Israel’s) would depend on the development of its human resources and that Science Education is an important component in the development of the young generation to its utmost capacities. Furthermore it was thought that Israeli expertise in the field of Science Education is rich in years and quality, is rather comprehensive and if enlisted could be of great help in particular given the geographic proximity that would serve as an advantage, Finally with Peace in mind it was hoped that a co-operative effort in Science Education would not only promote dialogue but also real partnership for Peace.
This co-operation programme had a double mission: on one hand it aims to increase the dissemination of scientific knowledge in Palestine through the creation of a Centre for Science Education within the Palestinian Al-Quds University and on its Campus, and on the other hand it aims to promote a concrete, peaceful Israeli-Palestinian co-operation project in the field of education and access to scientific culture.
Eight concrete actions were involved in the project. Six were part of the initial plan and two were added later with substantial additional funding: the $25,000 from UNESCO
Four science laboratories have been established at Al-Quds University to provide high school classes with facilities and instruction booklets for experiments. The Weizmann Institute provided its relevant expertise to this Action [subproject],
A dedicated website in Arabic has been set up in order to facilitate teachers and students using the Al Quds University’s science laboratories. The website provides the necessary manuals and it enables secondary school teachers to receive scientific and educational support from scientists and science education experts. The Weizmann Institute again provided its relevant expertise to this Action. To the website...
The Multilingual and Multicultural Website for Science Education and Peace Pilot Project This action has been added at a late stage of the original project with additional budgets from the Paris Cité des Sciences et de l’industrie and the Israeli Olivestone Trust. The Cité des Sciences et de l’industrie also participated in the project as well as La Main à la pâte, of the French Academy of Science, along with AQU and the Israeli Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Center for Educational Technology (CET) and the Bloomfield Science Museum (BSMJ). See below for more details. More...
A collection of 25 exhibits [museo-graphical elements] have been conceived, designed and assembled, as a “pilot-project”, precursor of an interactive science museum to be built at Al Quds University. The Israeli Bloomfield Science Museum (BSMJ) provided its relevant expertise to this action.
Extra-curricular and enrichment courses have been offered to Palestinian high school and junior high school students who excel in the sciences. ACBP experts and then IPSO’s provided necessary advice
A team from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s School of Education led a series of seminars to train Palestinian experts in the writing of curricula and textbooks in the sciences (the Palestinian Authority has been responsible for their curricula and Text-books since 1994).
Studies for doctorates in Science Education are being offered to Palestinian students at Israeli universities.
Two of the partners in this project, AQU and the BSMJ, joined forces with the Citta della Scienza, Naples, and produced the traveling exhibition “Meet-Math”. This action has not been part of the original plan and finally ran parallel with funding from the EU, UNESCO, the Regione Campania, and later the Jerusalem Foundation. It represents another step in the process of upgrading the pilot Interactive Science Center at AQU into a full fledged Science Museum.
The Israeli-Palestinian Cooperation in Science Education and the Pilot Science Education Website have proved to be great successes in achieving their goals. IPSO is eager to build on these recent experiences and therefore presently planning and preparing to expand the Science Education website.