Possible Research Projects

1) Attitudes of UNRWA Sponsored Students in University Education
UNRWA awards university scholarships to refugees who obtain high averages in the upper secondary school examinations. The scholarships are for use in Middle East universities. In 1992-93, 746 refugee students were awarded scholarships for various subjects of study.

A survey of work aspirations and attitudes in this group could be carried out with considerations regarding subjects of study and political attitudes. Students, in general, have already broken many ties to their home environment, and are as a rule unmarried. With university degrees, one assumption may be that these persons have a relative wide choice of where to live. A study of their family obligations, work aspirations, and what they regard as optimal living conditions may outline the aspirations and attitudes of this resourceful group.

Such a survey can be carried out as a mail survey, granted necessary permissions from UNRWA to access their lists of university scholarship holders. It would not require local field work.

2) Attitudes of UNRWA Teachers in Elementary and Preparatory Schools
A stated aim of the Department of Education is to provide, within the framework of the curricula prescribed by the host countries, education for Palestine refugees in accordance with their educational needs, identity and cultural heritage.
The present political upheavals and the new choices that present themselves in the wake of the Declaration of Principles underscore the importance of willingness and ability to adapt among Palestinians of all generations. The schools have a particularly significant role to play in enabling the young generations to respond to current challenges.

UNRWA teachers providing elementary and preparatory education can be seen as key agents in the process of empowering Palestinian children and youth. Against this background, the attitudes of UNRWA teachers is of central concern. How do teachers view their mission in Palestinian society, now and in the future? From which normative basis will they proceed - and is this basis likely to change?

A study of teachers' attitudes can be conducted as a mail survey, granted necessary permissions from UNRWA to access their lists of teachers.

3) Study of UNRWA Vocational Training Programme
UNRWA's programme for vocational training offers courses in metal trades, electrical trades, building trades, technicians, commercial, para-medical, and more.

The study should aim at assessing whether UNRWA's current system for vocational training meets the needs in the labour market. Considering the labour market and the question of how to integrate youth into productive wage or self-employment, an assessment of UNRWA vocational training programme's effectiveness, efficiency, and relevance could be carried out. Relevance being the relationship between training objectives and the labour market, it is necessary to chart what is the likely size and shape of future demands for skills, both qualitatively (i. e. general knowledge, skills and attitudes) and in orders of magnitude.

Basic questions guiding such a project, and major sources for investigation would be: do policies and training programmes prepare people for technological change? What happens to the graduated students of typical training institutions? Do they get jobs? Doing what? What is the distribution of student contact hours between theory and practice (laboratory/ workshop)? What linkages exist between institutions and the business and industry, labour unions, commerce and other groups involved in the development of instructional programmes?

A study of UNRWA's vocational training programme would require access to UNRWA's educational data as well as local field work.


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