Under the Auspices of the Minister of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research
Prof. Ali Zeidan Abu Zuhri- the University President and Dr. Ola Awad- the President of the PCBS signed a collaboration agreement to start the first of its kind bachelor degree program in Palestine, the “Statistics and Data Sciences” program. The Signing of the agreement was under the auspices of Prof. Mahmoud Abu Mwais- the Minister of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and with the attendance of Prof. Waleed Deeb- the Academic Advisor of the Board of Directors and the Founding President and Dr. Mo’ayad Abu Saa’- the VP for Academic Affairs.
This agreement, that was signed after the accreditation of the “Statistics and Data Science” program from the Accreditation and Quality Assurance Commission (AQAC), aims to enhance the collaboration and coordination relations between the university and the PCBS concerning the new joint BA program in “Statistics and Data Sciences” especially in combining the theoretical and academic aspect from AAUP with the practical aspect from the PCBS. This will help in training students of this program and preparing them to the labor market.
Prof. Abu Zuhri- the University President welcomed the guests and stressed on the importance of the collaboration relations between the university as a private sector institution and the Palestinian Center Bureau of Statistics as a governmental sector in starting this BA program that its students will be trained to be prepared for the labor market as soon as they graduate. He also asserted that the university always keen to develop and combine the academic part with the practical part of its programs, and so will be in this new program. Prof. Abu Zuhri praised the role of the PCBS and thanked Prof. Mahmoud Abu Mwais- the Minister of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research on his interest in developing education and scientific research.
Prof. Abu Zuhri explained how AAUP has prepared the study plan of the Statistics and Data Science program as it will start next year. The program will be divided into 3 academic years in the university, and the fourth year will be a practical training year in the PCBS building where they will be treated as regular employees and will be asked to come on time and finish tasks.
Prof. Mahmoud Abu Mwais- the Minister of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research said: “The real problem that faces the higher education sector is the huge gap between what students learn in universities and what the labor market needs”. He stressed on the importance for programs and majors to be compatible with the market need, clarifying that the solution will be to combine between universities and the labor market through encouraging partnerships between universities and the private sector and the national institutions. He said that this will produce “dual programs” or integrative programs where learning will be completed by gaining actual skills in order to provide students with skills to join the labor market with excellent capabilities.
Prof. Abu Mwais added: “We fight unemployment and keep up with the Industrial Revolution by digitalizing everything, and that is our government motto, and both need a road map of data science bases which now is considered as groundbreaking science that provide creative youth with the chance to contribute actively in achieving sustainable development by enriching the higher education in Palestine with the data sciences skills in all fields”. He stressed on the importance of focusing on the quality of data, quality management and implementing the related standard forms, indicating on the importance of using modern technology and artificial intelligence.
In her turn, Dr. Ola Awad- the President of the Palestinian Center Bureau of Statistics expressed her pride and happiness in signing this collaboration agreement with AAUP to be a qualitative addition to the center; especially that this signing came along the World Statistics Day. She indicated that this was not the first collaboration with the center, as the center signed collaboration agreements among Palestinian Data Science Initiative by “Think and Learn Program” to train students. This agreement will help the center to work alongside the educational institutions to try to reduce the gap between education and real-life work, and to follow-up the developments of the world. She explained that Arab American University was the first to discusee such imitative and appreciated the academic, scientific and practical role of the university.
Moreover, Dr. Awad indicated the importance of this agreement between a private and a governmental sector especially to students who will work in the center after finishing their theoretical academic years, and stressed that they will be treated as employees of the center. She added that the center always stresses on the idea of making statistics part of each planning department at any institution and to be called “statistic system”.
At the end of the meeting, Prof. Mahmoud Abu Mwais- the Minister of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research signed the accreditation paper of this program to be accredited by AQAC, and both Prof. Ali Zeidan Abu Zuhri- the University President and Dr. Ola Awad- the PCBS President signed the collaboration agreement.