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Online Degree, Online Courses and Distance Learning in Palestine

About Online Degree, Online Courses and Distance Learning in Palestine

Palestine, also known as the State of Palestine or the Occupied Palestinian Territories, is primarily an Arab state consisting of two regions:  the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.  The region that is now known by most as Palestine declared independence in 1988.  Since that time, three quarters of the world’s countries have recognized the region as the State of Palestine, although the United Nations, Israel and most western states, including the United States, do not. The Gaza strip portion of the Palestinian territory is currently governed by the Hamas-led Palestinian government, while the disputed West Bank region is under dual control, with some parts under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian National Authority, and others controlled by Israeli military authorities.  The latter of these parts, the Israeli controlled areas of the West Bank, are called Occupied Palestinian Territory by the United Nations and the World Court. 
Although neither the West Bank nor Gaza Strip has an officially recognized capital, they both have “administrative centers,” Ramallah for the West Bank and Gaza for the Gaza Strip.  East Jerusalem is the proclaimed capital of the State of Palestine, although it is not internationally recognized.  Three languages are recognized officially in the country:  Arabic, Hebrew and English, the former and the latter both used in the country’s distance education programs.
Distance Education in Palestine
In some countries distance education or E-learning could be considered a luxury, a convenience, but in Palestine it is a crucial component of the higher education system, one that provides greater educational access to students in a region where traveling can often be next to impossible.  Palestine’s Open University and the distance education programs offered by traditional institutions allow students the opportunity to earn Bachelor and Master’s degrees in a wide range of academic and professional fields, while taking the bulk of their coursework through an online format.  Assignments are sent and received electronically, and communication between teachers and students is handled with email, instant messaging and video conferencing.  Lectures and presentations are held in virtual classrooms, giving students the same level of access to the instructor enjoyed by traditional students.  Some physical attendance may be required depending on the school and/or program, usually for exams or other events, but some courses are conducted entirely online with students working at their own pace.
Each year, an increasing number of Palestinian students are graduating from secondary school and looking to further their education, but the physical space in the country’s universities and colleges is not sufficient to accommodate the demand. These distance education programs assist Palestinian higher education institutions with enrollment, allowing them to cope with the increased demand for educational access.  Some of the programs offered at the undergraduate and graduate level include the social sciences, arts and humanities, education, engineering, business, computers and IT, science, mathematics, Arabic and English, economics, finance and more.
Palestine’s Open University enrolls more students each year than the university colleges and community colleges combined, and just slightly less than the 10 universities in the country.  Education is the key to national development, and in a region where free movement is not always plausible, distance education serves to remove the barriers once faced by students and provides a quality and relevant education to any student who desires it.