On July 1, the Acting Deputy Mayor of Ramallah Municipality, Hassan Abu Shalbak, and the Director General of A.M. Qattan Foundation, Ziad Khalaf, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to carry out a comprehensive study on the proposed establishment of a science centre in the city of Ramallah. The centre is intended to become a hub of critical scientific thinking, with a fun, interactive environment that will encourage the exploration of science concepts and practices for all age groups, especially children.
This study will be carried out by the Walid and Helen Kattan Science Education Project at the Qattan Centre for Educational Research and Development. The study will consider aspects of the centre’s overall structure, trends it will follow, activities it will offer, connections it will forge with the city, its architecture, and the costs of construction and daily operation.
Ramallah Municipality will provide the required expertise and resources to carry out the study. This will be achieved through partnerships with other cities and cooperation with other municipalities, especially those in which science museums and centres are located. The Ramallah Municipality will help to cover the costs of carrying out this study and will work to identify an appropriate city location to build the centre. The AM Qattan Foundation will seek the support of science specialists and researchers to conduct the study.
The study will take into account both international and Palestinian contexts, where researchers will investigate international experiences of building science centres and the role of such centres in supporting a culture of scientific learning, in countries in the United States, Europe, Africa, and the Arab world. The study will also survey the science centres that exist locally. Local communities will be included in this aspect of the study, especially students, teachers, and parents, as they will comprise the majority of the proposed science centre’s visitors. Their opinions and aspirations will be considered before construction of the centre begins.
Additionally, the Foundation will carry out small field studies, including a survey of Palestinian school curriculums, everyday life in Palestine, and science in Palestinian culture and history. The Foundation will propose an administrative structure for the centre, the qualifications that will be required for efficient administration, and an estimate of the costs of running the centre.
Dr. Nader Wahbeh, the Director of Walid and Helen Kattan Science Education (WHK) Project, said, “This agreement, along with the agreement signed with Birzeit University to establish a botanic garden at the university campus, will definitely aid the WHK project in preparing a comprehensive study on the role of science centres, museums and gardens in supporting education and learning in informal contexts. The study will also provide an opportunity for international specialists and researchers in the field of science museums and centres to work together.”