جامعة النجاح الوطنية
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There is no more pressing mission for Palestine’s higher education institutions ‎than to prepare knowledgeable, committed, thoughtful generations and ‎individuals to help overcome the various challenges facing Palestine today. In ‎addition to teaching students basic knowledge and theoretical modelling, Dr. ‎Abdelkarim Daragmeh, an education leader and influencer at An-Najah ‎University, is applying his knowledge and the available resources to help learners ‎grow as individuals and to instil in them the principles of citizenship and civic ‎service. ‎


Dr. Daragmeh is an internationally-known expert on pedagogical methods and ‎the scholarship of teaching, a pioneering leader among Palestinian academics, and ‎the founder of the first and most successful Palestinian center for university ‎teaching excellence. He has experience and connections across the Palestinian ‎higher education sector and deep knowledge of global teaching and learning ‎communities of practice.‎

He believes that higher education has a public mission that encompasses both ‎serving today’s local communities and creating the leaders of tomorrow.Since ‎‎2011, Dr. Daragmeh has been instrumental in transforming teaching and learning ‎across the 20,000-student An-Najah University as founder and director of the ‎university’s Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT). His ‎leadership has ensured thousands of students now participate in learner-centered, ‎collaborative classes led by faculty who participate in active conversations about ‎the scholarship of teaching itself. ‎

Dr. Daragmeh has developed new apprenticeship programs, academic minors, the ‎masters' program in comparative literature, conducted formal evaluations of ‎degree programs in varied fields across the West Bank and Gaza, and worked ‎with complex teams to ensure reform is tied to student, community, and ‎workplace needs.‎

Remarkable International Achievements ‎

Through a variety of projects, Dr. Daragmeh has built a strong network with ‎education experts around the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S. His early-career ‎formal education in English and study in the U.S. also afforded him deeper ‎understandings of international educational standards produced in English than ‎Palestinian academics who do not have such background, while his 20 years of ‎classroom teaching experience have underpinned his understanding of the ‎connection between theory and practice. ‎

Dr. Daragmeh's efforts were crowned this year in leading the university teams to ‎winning the prestigious Times Higher Education Oscar Award 2020. An-Najah ‎University won the Oscar Teaching and Learning Strategy of the Year Award for ‎its "Najah Community Pathways Program". This service learning program, ‎originally initiated by a group of dedicated academic staff members, has ‎transformed the learning and teaching experience for thousands of students, ‎instilled important values in Palestinian youth, and completed hundreds of ‎projects for the benefit of community organizations, e.g. building Geographic ‎Information Systems for city councils, awareness videos for victims of child ‎abuse, designing nutrition protocols for diabetic patients. Commenting on the ‎educational value of the community-based learning, Dr. Daragmeh said: "I have ‎always believed that a proper education doesn’t just teach students how to make a ‎living but actually teaches them how to live by instilling values and morals. ‎Engaging students in community service instils citizenship in a way that no other ‎classroom experience can do. It ignites imaginations, engages minds and bodies ‎and givesstudents a sense of pride and inspiration".‎

The Times higher Education Award finalists came from Hong Kong, South ‎Korea, Turkey, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia, which are all ‎prominent Universities in Asia. CPP was announced winner of the Asia Award in ‎November of 2020.‎

Founder of the Center for excellence in Learning and Teaching

Dr. Daragmeh is the founder and leader of the Center for Excellence in Learning ‎and Teaching (CELT). The center offers services for the University students from ‎all faculties and disciplines through improving the teaching and learning ‎environments. Together with a team of dedicated fellows, Dr. Daragmeh has led ‎education change through hosting and supporting innovation in teaching and ‎learningfrom across disciplines.‎

‎ “At CELT, we try to increase the space for the learners” Dr. Daragmeh said. We ‎have been working on changing the role of the teacher from an instructor into a ‎guide. We train teachers on coaching students into improving the quality of their ‎products bydirecting themwithout interfering in their project ideas. Thus we ‎graduallymove towards learning situationswhere students are not be passive in ‎their lectures, but productive and active ones."‎

Education during Covid-19‎

Education during Covid-19 poses a remarkable challenge for higher education, ‎‎“It is different... talking to a screen is never like talking to people ... You miss the ‎human interaction in virtual education,” Dr. Daragmeh said. However, he added ‎that the An-Najah University is doing its best to adapt tothe new situation, and to ‎come up with the solutions for the technical and pedagogical challenges it faces ‎during the Covid-19 pandemic. ‎

Nonetheless, Dr. Daragmeh believes that the road to quality online education ‎services starts by doing in virtual classrooms what we have been doing in face-to-‎face lectures in terms of skill-building and interaction. We do not want online ‎classes to become replicas of traditional lectures. ‎

Progressive learning policies for Palestine

One of Daragmeh's inspirational quotes about higher education in Palestine is ‎this: "Higher Education Institutions in Palestine must develop progressive and ‎forward-looking teaching and learning strategies. Our education is and should ‎remain community-connected and a host for innovative and progressive minds”.  ‎Education institutions must believe in the power of learners and must seize every ‎opportunity to benefit and empower them, enrich their knowledge, and develop ‎their skills. Dr. Daragmeh closed our interview by saying: “A good future lies in ‎the hands of our youth whom we must nourish. Our universities should remain ‎community-connected and should act as a hub for innovative and progressive ‎minds.' ‎


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