Palestinian students have won places at leading global universities after taking part in a three-year after-school programme.
Launched by the Palestinian non-profit organisation Taawon, Bridge Palestine aims to fill the gaps in the state’s education system by offering extra tuition to promising teenagers.
Over the course of three years, the programme helps students to develop their critical thinking, knowledge, creative abilities, leadership potential and communication and research skills.
After they complete their secondary education, the programme then links them with scholarship foundations that offer funds to continue higher education abroad.
A total of 400 students were accepted on to the programme in 2015 from among 3,350 applicants, and a total of 110 managed to graduate.
Of that number, 50 students have received early acceptances to study at institutions including Harvard and Stanford universities, King’s College London and the University of Manchester, according to Al Jazeera.
The 60 remaining candidates hope to hear back within the next few months.
According to Yahya Hijazi, an education researcher at Al-Quds University, Palestine’s education system does not currently have the capacity to prepare students for education abroad.
“The principal problem is that the system is very traditional,” she told Al Jazeera. “They do not have the resources and there is no one to light the spark of excellence and creativity within the students.”
Explaining how they help students bridge the gap in their learning, Tafeeda Jarbawi, director-general of Taawon, said: “We teach them how to write good essays, how to succeed in interviews, how to be good citizens, the basic skills of dialogue, how to be rationally and not emotionally driven, what types of questions they should ask, how to have an open mind and be open to diversity.”