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Sharek’s report from 2009 entitled “Promise or Peril?” concludes that unemployment in one of the major causes of poverty, holding youth hostage at a crucial time in their lives and contributing to low self- esteem, marginalization and feelings of uselessness. The dramatic increase in unemployment rates recent years has been directly linked with the illegal Israeli closure. Sharek is combating youth unemployment in differentways. The Mehani project addresses some of these challenges .

Unemployment rates are highest in the vocational sector: 35% of the people holding a vocational certificate are jobless compared to 22% with a university diploma. Only 5% of secondary school students go to the vocational stream in Palestine, compared to 40% in Israel and 60% in Germany (Vocational & Technical Education, USAID-VET NGO League- Mercy Corps-Save the Children, Jan 2010). In the light of the shortcomings of many vocational education and training (VET) institutions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it is no surprise that VET has a bad reputation and is seen by many Palestinians perceived as a one-way street or even a trap for young people who do not make it to higher education institutions. On the other hand, all recent labour market reports state that there is an urgent need for skilled workers to further the Palestinian economy. Thus, the Mehani project goals are: to improve vocational and technical school reform capacity; to create an empowering learning environment; and to increase access job opportunities for graduates. The main objective of Mehani project is to contribute to poverty reduction particularly among youth in the Palestinian Territories and Technical Education and also to increase income opportunities of youth in the Palestinian Territories through improving vocational and technical education.

The project targets Vocational and technical education schools; teachers/ trainer and administrative employees, and students through continuous workshops and follow up. The first workshop on Pedagogical and Didactical Skills in Vocational Training was conducted in the West Bank and Gaza in August 2010 targeting 50 teachers from five secondary vocational schools, who received no or insufficient teacher training and who have the ability to pass on their newly acquired knowledge to their colleagues. The workshop specifically aimed at providing the participants with the necessary skills to plan and conduct lessons using participative teaching methods encouraging students to take a more active role.

‘Mehani’ A Project for the Development of Vocational and Technical Education in Palestine. Implemented by Sharek in Partnership with the German Adult Education Association ‘dvv international’ and in Cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. Funded by the EU.

Mariam Sur, 26: We learnt various teaching methods used in vocational education, we also learnt about techniques for planning lessons, assessing learners performance/ weakness and developing corresponding support exercises, and how to communicate with students. I now know how to form a group, and how make students participate in the lessons effectively. This workshop improved my general pedagogical and didactical skills, and is looking forward to improving my society.

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