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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
5 October 2015


05 October 2015

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has taken all six top awards at the British Council’s Connecting Classrooms Initiative this year in Jordan. The aim of the project is to connect schools in the Middle East with schools around the world, helping young people develop knowledge, skills and values to contribute responsibly both locally and globally.

“It is a real honour for the UNRWA education system to be recognized, and it’s a fitting way for us to mark World Teachers’ Day, with these six top awards in Jordan”, said Caroline Pontefract, Director of the UNRWA Education Department, which runs 677 schools for half a million children across the Middle East. “I pay tribute to our 22,000 teaching staff in Jordan and beyond. These awards are a tribute to each and every one of them.”

The Connecting Classrooms Initiative has allowed UNRWA schools registered on the platform to connect with other schools to exchange culture and classroom practices. Schools and teachers also benefited from a variety of online classroom resources available on the platform.

“At a time of rising extremism and increased refugee flows out of the region, a fully functioning and funded UNRWA education programme delivering education services here in the Middle East is particularly important,” said UNRWA Deputy Commissioner-General, Sandra Mitchell. “Just weeks after we nearly had to suspend the start of our school year for lack of funds, these awards send a powerful signal to the donor community that UNRWA is a worthy recipient of its support.”

UNRWA has been participating in the Connecting Schools Initiative since 2010. The Agency’s education staff has greatly benefited from the contact with education specialists from around the world and the teaching materials available on the platform.

“I’d like to thank the British Council for the tremendous partnership we have developed over the years,” said the UNRWA Director in Jordan, Roger Davies. “As UNRWA takes steps to put itself on a sound financial footing moving forward from the crisis this summer, this recognition is extremely important.”

Background information on Connecting Classrooms can be found at :


This year, all of the six schools from the Irbid Area in Jordan who applied for the Connecting Classrooms International Schools Awards (ISA) won awards and were honoured in a ceremony held under the patronage of the Jordanian Minister of Education, Dr. Mohammad Thneibat, on 29 September. These schools are:

Irbid Prep. GS No. 3
Irbid Prep. Co-ed
Jerash Camp Prep. GS 1
Jerash Camp Prep. GS 2
N. Shouneh Prep. GS
Mansheih Prep. BS

In appreciation of their efforts, the British Council also honoured Baqa Elem. Co-ed No. 1, another UNRWA school which applied for the ISA but did not meet the complete award criteria.


UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, and financial support has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, deepening poverty and conflict. As a result, the UNRWA General Fund, which supports core essential services and most staffing costs, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large deficits, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267

Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)2 589 0724

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