PALESTINE – After the ending of the Academic year, the media office of the Latin Patriarchate talked to Fr Iyad Twal, General Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate schools in the Holy Land, about a project he wishes to develop in the Latin Patriarchate schools entitled “child protection policy”. Interview.
What is the origin of this initiative?
If we have been promoting a particular policy concerning childhood protection, partly due to human and Christian educational values we promote, it is not until recently that we realized that we were in possession of a treasure. We noticed this fact with the schools’ principals and thus we felt the need to write down what we already live and have. We want to write it as a chart with measures and procedures.
Aiming at creating a child protection policy is part of a five-year plan whose purpose is to develop our schools under the vision of quality in and for education.
What was the child protection policy that you defined after the workshop? What did you choose to focus on?
We are at the beginning of the implementation. It is an innovative step indeed: we will be among the first private schools in Holy Land to put in place this protection policy to our children.
But let us not misunderstand this intuition. This project is not at all a treatment of bad experiences or previous abuses. It is merely motivated by the will to record our rich experience and history in education and pedagogy. We shall write, promote and train this policy in the cultural context we are living through, here on this Holy Land. We will adapt the teaching of the Catholic Church as well as the policies implemented in other Catholic universities and schools. Thus, we shall write our own policy, assisted by World Vision experts.
Why did you choose World Vision International as a partner?
Word Vision is a Christian ecumenical NGO, specialized in education, development aid and skills transmission. Furthermore, World Vision had a long and good experience of cooperation with our schools. We organized a workshop together in March in Beit Jala that targeted the schools principals, administrative departments and social workers. Word Vision has an expertise in the field of childhood. They shared it with us in order to fulfil our needs. They are sponsoring all the initiatives from now on as well as the practical program we shall set.
What kind of awareness did you want to spread? Targeted at whom? When will this policy become effective?
This implies a whole educational process, for it is a brand new concept for the teachers, the parents and the students. We just created a committee of experts and some directors of schools to start putting in practice the policies and the manuals. We will raise our values in dealing with our students. We thus promote the excellence for all, regardless of class or religion. Our schools are places of exchanges and formation of peaceful and good-willing people. We are a community with living values, fostering mutual respect. To impediment this policy means improving education as a whole system.