APPEH supports UNRWA’s Education Reform, part of which is to address the inadequacy of the Lebanese Ministry of Education’s textbooks that have been used in English language classes in UNRWA Palestinian schools. The APPEH English Language Textbook Support Project was established to train UNRWA staff involved in textbook production in the use of new hardware and software, and to support the textbook team to design new textbook materials by mid 2012 (specifically Enjoy English! Grade 2 Part 1 Student Book, Activity Book and Teachers Book, as well as cards and posters).
To achieve these aims, APPEH engaged a consultant, Hamish Walker, at ‘volunteer’ rates to train the textbook team in the use of PhotoShop, InDesign and Illustrator.
Training was conducted twice per week from 21 February – 5 April 2012. Each session was of four hours duration. At the end of the training period all five members of the textbook team answered a questionnaire designed to gauge their satisfaction with the program, the degree to which the program met the learning objectives (as outlined by the trainer), and the ongoing training needs of the team. The evaluation consultant Emily Steele will coordinate all aspects of monitoring and evaluation with assistance from the Project Manager Malak Soufian, with whom she will remain in close contact throughout the project.
Despite valiant efforts to produce textbooks in a timely manner, the team was hampered by outdated hardware and inadequate software so that a graphic designer had to be engaged to format the materials before the prototypes were sent to the printers.
APPEH decided to fully fund all components of the project: hardware, software, and provision of training. By developing the capacity of the unit with new computers and appropriate software, production of the textbook materials could be carried out in-house. Not only did the project introduce new efficiencies and savings, it developed the capacity of UNRWA Education Program staff for future projects.
Items purchased by APPEH to facilitate the production of new textbooks:
- datashow projector
- mini laptop
- simple digital camera
- 7 USB/8GB
- 2 USB/16GB
- 2 external HDs (to provide storage for the student textbook, activity book, posters, cards, stories and all other related supportive material like songs and videos)
Once the textbook team commenced working with Grade 2 Part 2 materials in June 2012, it became apparent that one more desktop computer (with the same specification as the two computers purchased under APPEH English Textbook Support Project) was needed. The team already had the necessary software. A 4GB RAM PC computer with technical specification for graphical use, high quality speakers and a LED 24? monitor was purchased for $1250.
The APPEH English Language Textbook Support Project aims to develop the capacity of UNRWA Education Program Staff in using a wide range of IT to enhance the quality of the results. To meet this need, and facilitate frequent meetings within the textbook team, and between the team and the consultant, and the team and UNWRA education specialists from different areas, an interactive whiteboard was purchased for $1900.