Using SMS to support teacher development

Mr Ayman Murad | Presentation (PDF)

United Nations Relief and Works Agency



The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Education programme is undergoing a transformation. Reforms are underway that will better position the Agency to meet the evolving demands of an education system in the twenty-first century. These will lead to improved quality of learning for Palestine refugee students in UNRWA schools, vocational training centres and education faculties. 

The education reform strategy sets out a comprehensive, interrelated plan of action. Optimal benefits and sustainable impact will be achieved through this approach, which ensures that students are at the centre of the system, teachers are supported, schools are empowered and the whole UNRWA education system is strengthened. After being pre-tested and implemented within UNRWA fields, reform components will be mainstreamed across the Agency’s education system by 2015. 

Teachers are UNRWA’s single most important educational resource, central to the provision of quality education. Following formal adoption in 2013, a teacher professionalization policy and a teacher career path policy will provide a framework for the Agency to support and motivate teachers as valued professionals to deliver the highest-quality education. These policies will encompass teacher recruitment and training, professional development and support, diversified and motivating career opportunities, professional accountability, quality assurance and school empowerment. 

UNRWA provides education in varied contexts and different host-country education systems and it is important therefore to ensure that the delivery of education in its schools aligns with the broader development goals of the Education programme. The programme must also reflect the values, principles and purposes of the United Nations. One of the key elements of the reform, therefore, is a system to maintain high-quality standards across all fields and the framework for quality analysis and implementation of the curriculum will enable this by identifying and fulfilling needs for enrichment material. 

Global research evidence shows that school leadership is a key factor in the quality of education a school provides. The school-based principal development (SBPD) programme builds on head teachers’ and principals’ existing knowledge of leading and managing people and strengthens competent and confident leadership through the acquisition of practical skills, tools and techniques to support effective, efficient and equitable education. 

The school-based teacher development (SBTD) programme, was launched in October 2012, shows teachers how to embrace new methods of supporting student learning away from a didactic approach (focusing on a process of memorization) towards holistic styles and approaches ('active learning'). Two of the six teacher training modules were pre-tested by 250 teachers across all five fields during 2012. The results were very positive, with the overall majority of teachers saying they liked the ‘style’, the ‘approach’ and the ‘language’ used, and were confident that improved learning outcomes would be achieved through the learning activities and case studies. 

SMS was used to support the SBTD programme in different phases to make sure that teachers are supported by all means. Different motivational, instructional and supporting SMS were programmes and sent to teachers while they are under SBTD.



Ayman Murad was born in Jordan in 1969. He earned a PhD degree in Computer Information Systems in addition to a number of professional and industry standard certificates including: Project Management Professional, Certified Training Professional, Cisco Certified Network Associate, Cisco Certified Academic Instructor among others. This gave him strong academic and working experience in Education, Training, Certification, ICT and Project Management. Ayman has more than 23 years of experience in the private sector and United Nations. During his 21 years with the UN he managed to work on different positions of increasing responsibility. He is currently working for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency as Head, Partnerships, Communications and ICT Unit. 

During Ayman's experience with UNRWA he has overseen the introduction of major ICT projects which included curriculum upgrades and capacity building for UNRWA's Education System, particularly Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). Ayman was a key player in introducing third party training and certifications programs into UNRWA's system like the Cisco Networking Academy program and International Computer Driving License (ICDL) program among others. He managed to coordinate strategic partnerships with Cisco Systems, UNIFEM (now UN Women), Al Jazeera Children Channel, United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) Cairo Office and the NGO community. In addition he served as the lead coordinator of a number of inter-Agency initiatives. He has also worked for United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as a Project Manager and, on a part-time basis, he teaches Advanced Project Management for the master degree programme at the Arab Academy for Banking and Financial Sciences.


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