CERD launches the second workshop on Transforming into Interactive Curricula. The speeches affirm the profile for a generation that adopts digital e-communication and the development of Teacher Preparation.

CERD organized its second workshop for transforming into Lebanese interactive curriculum at the CERD printing press in Sin El-Fil. The event was attended by the educational inspectors, the general Secretary of the Union of Private Educational Institutions Father Butrous Azar, the Director General of Education Mr. Fadi Yarak represented by the Mount Lebanon Regional Educational Officer, Mrs. Vera Zeitouni, and the Director of Basic Education Mr. George Haddad, CERD Administrative Director Ms. Yolla Hneiny, as well as Deans of Education at Private Universities. It was also attended by representatives from educational institutions, directorates, teachers, educators and specialists.

Following the national anthem the workshop coordinator, Mrs. Ibtihaj Saleh addressed the audience highlighting that curricula pave the way to build our country through educating the citizens as learners.

Then Dr. Nada Oweijane, Dr. Therse Al-Hachem, Dr. Nabil Costa and Dr. Vera Zeitouni delivered their speeches.

 

The Speech of CERD President, Dr. Nada Oweijane

With the onset of the new academic year, we gather at this workshop which we have planned for together collaboratively between private and public sector during our preparatory meetings in order to continue efforts to redesign our educational curricula, based on the guidelines and titles of the 1997 Decree 10227. We also abide by the guidelines of his Excellency the Minister of Education and Higher Education Mr. Elias Bou Saab who has adopted the “Education for All” guidelines. I thus announce the opening of this workshop and hope that your ideas and perspectives will enrich it so we all succeed in realizing the targeted development which have we waited for since a long time.

The future learner is the “offspring” of the digital and interactive age and his/her profile align with the interactive, open and globalized age. Hence we base our thoughts while we design the learners’ profile on globally educated learners who belong to their origin and national values with analytical, experiential and lifelong learning.

The character of our future learner necessitates the revision of the criteria for pre-service teacher choice as well as teacher preparation and in-service training. It also requires the availability of technical equipment, in itself a necessity for social media and technology at our schools. These could be used by staff and students to exchange ideas and experiences and deepen learning to open up new horizons along with all the innovations nowadays.

Upon the completion of the new framework for interactive curriculum and redesigning the plan for Educational Reform and the vision of the learners’ profile, new specialized committees will be formed for all subjects to participate in specifically designed workshops.

The expected workload is massive and at the same time, basic for preparing our youth for the future. But through mutual understanding and collaboration, as well as true educational partnerships, we can face the challenges. The risk is big but the task is not impossible.  

We should not disregard the fact that the Lebanese society with all its educational, intellectual, scientific, cultural and social components as well as its media are waiting for qualitative move towards interactive curricula. In addition many Arab and African countries as well as other countries around the world are waiting for our accomplishments in this area. We have always been pioneers and models in this respect.

This workshop will hopefully, be the onset of educational reform through:

  1. Curricula that are up to our expectations, that will lead to better results whether in official exams or standardized tests and which are a source of pride to its designers whether nationally or internationally.
  2. A national textbook that will allow us to form a citizen who will meet the 21st Century requirements.
  3. Efforts that will enhance the quality of public education, so we can provide education and learning for all.

We are responsible for generations that will assume future national responsibilities and our   accountability is multiplied by double factors, I call on all partners and those who are interested in serious work and overcoming difficulties to join us in our innovative step in order to reach the desired development and emerge from our static state. 

 

The Speech of the Dean of the Faculty of Education at the Lebanese University Dr. Therese Al-Hachem

 

I remember when the 1997 new curricula were officially approved, the Dean of the Faculty at that time Dr. Joseph Nohra called for a series of workshops and directly formed a higher committee to develop pre-service teacher preparation curricula at the Faculty of Education. At that time, I had the honor to be a member. We worked for over a year with the aim of aligning our teacher preparation with the requirements of these curricula. We were able to develop the curricula that served that purpose. This is exactly what I am planning to do once the new curricula reach us again.

All of this, with the fact that this year at the Faculty of Education, we have already started developing our curricula and we are cooperating with CERD regarding this issue.

In Lebanon, there is national consensus regarding the necessity of curricula revision and redesign.

Curricula development is not meant to be comprehensive, collaborative, continuous and dynamic. It is non-stop, does not end, and is neither designed solely for a current situation nor in chunks.

We say that curricula components are basically four: objectives, methods, resources and materials, and assessment.

I would like to add that curriculum firstly is philosophy, ethics, values and principles. Philosophy, ethics, values and principles are the framework for objectives, methods, resources materials, and assessment and not vice versa.

Development starts from here and if not, it will never launch.

 

After the new curricula were implemented in 1998, the Ministry of Education started to lay the foundation for a national educational strategy which included the vision for teaching and it was the following:

The availability of good quality learning on the basis of equal opportunity that will take part in forming knowledge based society along with social integration and economic development. The question is “Did the 1997 curricula lead to executing the aim of this vision, at least partially?

Despite many educational sector achievements .we all know that our real educational situation is in crisis.

We are in an emergency, a critical and dangerous situation with an impact that is threatening the future of Lebanon, socially, economically, ethically and politically.

The problem always starts in education and it is through education that the solution is found.

The CERD initiative regarding curricula design is huge, strenuous and precise.

We will carefully and closely accompany it because it is an integral part of teacher preparation. We are all aware that a competent teacher is the focal activator of the curriculum. It is the teacher who facilitates the realization of the objectives, utilizes and teaches the materials and launches interactive teaching as well as applies active methods. The teacher evaluates, assesses, and to summarize, assumes the didactic transformation and is responsible for shaping and abiding by the didactic rules.

Before I conclude, and to be fair regarding the Plan for Educational Reform which was issued in 1994 and the curricula which were implemented in 1998, allow me to say that these two were both at that time and until now innovative, with a future quest

In 2006, joined two colleagues to write the National Education for Sustainable Development report upon request, in order to present it at the teacher competences regional workshop for which was held in Alexandria in 2007. The first reference that I reviewed for the ESD term were both , the Plan for Educational Reform and the Curricula, and I did not come across any. However I could find the philosophy, principles, and basics without being used as a term in itself. At that time, ESD was not widely known or circulated as the case nowadays. What really affi

rms this perspective are a number of basis that launched this plan. I found out that all the components for the Plan for Educational Reform and the curricula as well as its broad goals, objectives and themes obviously and closely correlate with ESD principles, basics and philosophy. I would like to draw your attention that the 1994 Plan for Educational Reform preceded the ESD decade. This means that the Plan and Curricula reflected the values, and principles that the Lebanese society believes in being deeply rooted in its history and framework. It also signifies that the plan at that time initiated from futuristic, pioneer vision of the needs of education in Lebanon at that epic and in the future.

We hope that the process of developing education will always be constructive and novel.

I hope that this workshop and any future workshops will succeed with flying colors. The success of this workshop stems from our success in our Educational Endeavor.

It is a step towards a secure milestone. 

 

The speech of the General Secretary of Evangelical Schools, Dr. Nabil Osta representing the Union of Private Teaching Institutions

The subject of the workshop launched today is one of the subjects that I pay special attention to. The subject is also important for private teaching institutions whose priority is to provide knowledge, culture and make achievements in various fields and succeed in the workplace.

The project of modifying the Lebanese curriculum which has been implemented at our schools during the past 15 years provided competences and necessary skills of a great significance for students to proceed to higher education and engage in work fields with creativity.

So, the aim of comparison, change and curriculum development is not to blow up what our educators have founded so far; it is an ongoing up dating.

It is time to work on curriculum development for our students’ sake. It is time to update the evaluation system (the official examinations) for students at eh end of Cycle 3 (Brevet) and the end of Cycle 4, as well.

                                      

Official Examinations that our students sit for since the curriculum has been implemented are unfair because these exams don’t take into account competencies and skills that a student acquires through the curriculum, such as:

  1. Questions asked only asses what a student learnt by heart; not what he/she comprehended.
  2. Official exams are so far form evaluating the students’ ability in analysis, creativity and critical thinking; knowing that some of our students are so brilliant in analysis.

 

Though a student, for example, may possess high potentials and skills, he/she is not given an opportunity to use these abilities that are more significant than recitation.

In order to achieve both targets curriculum development and the evaluation system, it is beneficial to examine and adopt what agrees with our culture in the Arab world such as:

  • International Baccalaureate
  • International …..
  • International General Certificate of Secondary Education IGCSE
  • The French Baccalaureate
  • High School Program
  • We may find helpful ideas such as the German curriculum where a student chooses the subjects he/she likes to study the last 2 years of schooling. The students, according to that curriculum, also chooses the field of specialization or the career he/she likes to pursue in the university or the vocational college oriented by “career counseling” to be evaluated at that end of those 2 years the student sits for an exam called “Abitur” or “Mature”. The exam is made up of 3 written and I oral exam where field of specialization is determined.

 

We are in need to lessen indoctrination and between basic subjects that all students should learn in basic education and other subjects that might be optional in the secondary level (credit system).

This transition in the evaluation system also requires a solution for the General Secondary Certificate whose exams are considered a burden for our students. A student has the right to be free to choose from different subjects what fits his/her skills, interests and tendencies.

Briefly today we need an intense study to make a difference and update the curriculum an the evaluation system through:

  • Providing skills and competencies that help form the so-called “Learner Profile” or the “Graduate Profile” in the IB system. The profile that makes Lebanese students unable to go to university or the vocational college without.
  • Encouraging students to develop their social awareness (helping others, love for donation, care for patients and the elderly), as well as citizenship and environmental awareness through social service projects.
  • Connecting subjects studied at school with the work place needs and requirements.
  • Reforming the evaluation system at eh end of the secondary and intermediate classes to correspond and measure the student’s actual achievement in all skills and competences including analysis, critical thinking and innovation in sciences, arts and writing.
  • Curriculum development is a necessary step for schools. The Ministry of Education and CERD must initiate this step as soon as possible. The new generations are growing older and they won’t wait us. It is our duty as educators to supply a suitable atmosphere for the student to learn and to be educated for the purpose of eliminating all kinds of illiteracy.

We also have to develop the teachers’ skills and abilities to cape with the new curricula especially the interactive.

We want our students to grow and become lifelong learners with enough skills that enable them to be good citizens who can have positive influence on the society and environment they live in.

The Union of Private Teaching Institutions thinks that CERD is the main source of information and educational researches.

The Union relies on its efforts to follow up curricula development and official examination based on scientific studies. 

 

The Speech of the Head of Mount Lebanon Board of Education Dr. Vera Zeitouni representing the General Director, Mr. Fadi Yarak

With this workshop we have started the practical step in curricula development. Our students are facing big challenges as they are competing in order to efficiently cope with this era. We are all responsible according to the principle of complete partnership of our institutions to ensure enough factors for building a character capable of coping with modern requirements, especially scientific competencies, skills, knowledge and culture which are the basis of building the citizen’s character that we aim to be scientifically efficient and tolerant. We have human capacities with skills and competencies which make us able to design the future citizen profile by working on our curricula development.

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