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UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

02/22/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/22/2021 10:03

UNESCO and Japan Sign a Milestone Agreement for the Benefit of Palestinian Youth during COVID-19

In her opening remarks, Ms. Noha Bawazir, Head of Office and UNESCO Representative commended the partnership with Japan by stating, 'The Agreement is a milestone in the cooperation between UNESCO and the Government of Japan in Palestine. It is the translation of a long-standing partnership at global level that will bear its fruits for the benefit of Palestinian students and young people whom were severely impacted since the beginning of the pandemic. The closure of schools during the COVID-19 period affected immensely the teaching and learning of students through the traditional way. Therefore, distance learning has been identified as a priority for the Ministry of Education to ensure no interruption is happening to the education process. Many Palestinian households had to cope with unemployment and economic hardships, therefore, distance learning offers students and their families the opportunity to escape potentially disastrous consequences, through being equipped with skills needed for their future in the labor market'.

For his remarks, Mr. MAGOSHI Masayuki, Ambassador for Palestinian Affairs/ Representative of Japan to Palestine, stated, 'I am glad that the Japanese government decided to make a first-time contribution for UNESCO's important activities in Palestine. This contribution demonstrates Japan's strong commitment to support UNESCO and its essential operations to assist Palestinian children learning at schools under the serious situation of COVID 19. This is the beginning of our partnership to materialize the concept of 'Human Security' in Palestine through significant investments in Education, where Japan has always been taking the lead to spread and establish this concept throughout the world'.

Japan and UNESCO have historically collaborated towards sustainable development across the globe. One of the flagship programs carried out jointly between Japan and UNESCO had been the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). The program aimed at helping people develop the attitudes, skills, and knowledge to make informed decisions for the benefit of themselves and others in order to ensure sustainable development. Japan and UNESCO share the same values with regard to peace and security whereby UNESCO is acknowledged for promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science, culture, and communication to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law, and human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Education in Palestine especially suffered the repercussions of COVID-19, disrupting the education of 1.28 million students. As a response to the pandemic, the Distance Learning Taskforce was established in Palestine where UNESCO is the co-lead with the Ministry of Education. This task force aimed at supporting distance learning in Palestine through coordinated efforts among partners.

The overall objective of this project is to enhance digital and sustainable development skills in general education and TVET through distance learning in Palestine. The project will target 300 of the most vulnerable and most affected schools in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as part of its efforts to mend and improve the course of education for the disrupted lives of 1.28 million Palestinian students.

The agreement aims to strengthen the cooperation between the Government of Japan and UNESCO also by making funds available to UNESCO for the implementation of the activities related to the project. The government of Japan is supporting the project as part of the Japanese Supplementary budget for 2020.