“As soon as we heard about this new course, we all came running to register” exclaimed Abeer Issa, an enthusiastic student of the recently launched “Child Development in Kindergarten” course. This is a three-month course which trains 25 women in their twenties to become kindergarten teacher assistants. The unique course was launched in Syria for the first time inMarch 2009, part of an employment and vocational education project to enhance employability and employment opportunities for Palestine refugees through employment guidance and skills training.

The first two-and-a-half months of the course consist of 12 hours of lectures a week at a crèche, covering child psychology (including courses on advice giving, adaptation, dealing with children displaying emotional or behavioral difficulties and examining the meanings of children’s paintings), childcare, nutrition, first aid and classroom decoration. The last two weeks the students attend practical training in kindergartens.

Through a network of five vocational, technical and teacher training centres, 3,670 people benefitted from skills and pre-service teacher training in 2009. Of the vocational training graduates, 77% trainees were employed within one year. Vocational and technical training centres in Jordan ranked high in the nation-wide government-administered examinations. The Gaza Training Centre was awarded the “Against All Odds Award” by the Cisco Networking Academy for widening e-learning and fostering IT skills among Palestine refugees.