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Who We Are

Schools are one of the most powerful tools to mitigate extremist influences. They are key to achieving the tolerant and open-minded societies of the future. But they can also be…

Reports

IMPACT-se researches school textbooks, teachers’ guides, and curricula to assess whether young people are being educated to accept Others—be it their neighbors, minorities…

Photo of the Kremlin

Russia and Ukraine History Curricula: A Window into the Other in Textbooks

In a first of its kind monograph, IMPACT-se reviewed state-approved Russian and Ukrainian History textbooks. The findings show that both countries rely upon narrow and skewed historical perspectives of the other. Russia depicts Ukrainians as having a separate identity but only as an extension of the Soviet Union and is otherwise illegitimate. Russian students are not encouraged to think critically about Ukrainian nationalism. While Ukrainian textbooks strive for historical objectivity in relation to Russia and the Soviet Union, they fail to mention or acknowledge atrocities perpetrated by Ukrainians during the Holocaust, including the Babi Yar massacre of Jews and to accurately depict Ukrainian collaboration with the Nazi regime in a truthful manner.

Iran’s Radical Education: An Interim Update Report, 2021–22

IMPACT-se’s updated Iran report analyzed new sets of textbooks in the Iranian curriculum created for the current 2021–22 academic year. The findings indicate a greater degree of radicalization than in previous IMPACT-se reports. Findings show that the Islamic Republic’s curriculum provides educational content that continues to teach students about the prospect of a global struggle to spread the Islamist-Khomeinist revolution from as early as the first grade. The world is divided between followers of Iran’s global revolution and those who oppose it. Students are taught that Arab proxy militias are part of the Iranian regime and core to its goals. A central tenet of the curriculum is aimed at equipping the military forces of the country. Students are taught that they are constantly under threat, most notably from the United States. As is the case with prior reports, antisemitism remains rife, classic antisemitic tropes are used to describe Zionism as a wealthy ring of evil Jewish capitalists looking to control the world for malicious gain.

Doha Skyline through windows

Review of Changes and Remaining Problematic Content in 2021–2022 Qatari Textbooks

IMPACT-se’s latest review of the Qatari curriculum evaluates changes made in fall and spring semester textbooks for 2021–22. Over the last two years, Qatar’s textbooks have slowly improved with adjustments made toward moderation, including lessons on tolerance and racial discrimination. Significant progress was observed in removing antisemitic and anti-Christian content as well as examples of violent jihad. While the curriculum still disproportionately focuses on Israel, the hostile tone is lessened. Other problematic content remains, including antisemitic material, violent interpretations of jihad, hateful material against infidels and polytheists, demonization of Israel, and rejection of Arab-Israeli normalization.

Riyadh-TOI

Review of Changes and Remaining Problematic Content in Saudi Textbooks 2021–22
IMPACT-se has released its 2022 annual update on Saudi textbooks, depicting an overall trend of improvement following major reforms since 2020. Whereas only a decade ago, focus was put on encouraging students to prepare for jihad and martyrdom, the majority of references to violent jihad justifying and praising violence and murder on behalf of the Prophet Muhammad have now been removed from the textbooks. And while some problematic content such as negative depictions of Jews, Zionism and Christians remain or have even been made worse, others, particularly instances of the kind of antisemitism based on modern European tropes, have largely been removed.

The Emirati Curriculum 2016–21, Grades 1–12—Selected Examples
This IMPACT-se report provides a list of 134 selected examples from 220 textbooks in the United Arab Emirates’ national curriculum, between 2016–21. The examples illustrate the findings of our latest research report, “When Peace Goes to School: The Emirati Curriculum 2016-2021,” presenting lessons on peace, tolerance, and cooperation with the world and non-nationals, which are taught to be closely associated with prosperity and national identity. The language and moral education programs especially encourage cultural diversity, curiosity, and happiness. Additionally, the Abraham Accords are taught, and anti-Israeli material has been moderated. The research did not find antisemitism or incitement to violence, and UNESCO guidelines for peace and tolerance are generally met.

UAE Flag, Skyline

WHEN PEACE GOES TO SCHOOL: The Emirati Curriculum 2016–21
This IMPACT-se report evaluates the UAE’s national curriculum for the 2021–22 academic school year. Among the findings: The curriculum teaches that prosperity and national pride are closely associated with peace and tolerance. There is a realistic approach to peace and security with a priority on peacemaking. Language and moral education programs encourage cultural diversity, curiosity and happiness. Students prepare for a highly competitive world and are taught positive thinking and well-being. The Abraham Accords are taught and anti-Israeli material has been moderated. UNESCO guidelines for peace and tolerance are generally met.

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Review of Changes and Remaining Problematic Content in Qatari Textbooks 2021-22 Fall Editions Grades 1–12
This new IMPACT-se report evaluates changes made in the Qatari fall semester textbooks for 2021–22. The report found that the Qatar curriculum continues a trend of slow improvement since our reports in August 2020 and June 2021, by removing additional disturbing and unacceptable passages previously criticized in IMPACT-se’s reports. However, passages that demonize Jews, praise martyrdom, and blame holy faiths for corrupting holy texts remain. Although some changes are suggestive of positive movement, a great deal of improvement is necessary to align the curriculum with international standards of Peace and Tolerance.

Saudi Textbooks Show Dramatic Improvements

A FURTHER STEP FORWARD: Review of Changes and Remaining Problematic Content in Saudi Textbooks 2021–22
This latest IMPACT-se report on the Saudi Curriculum shows further dramatic improvements to Saudi Arabia’s school textbooks, continuing the significant changes seen in mid-2020 and documented in IMPACT-se’s last Saudi textbook report. Over the last year, textbooks have been moderated in several key areas. The greatest changes have been made to lessons dealing with Jews, Christians, non-believers, and violent jihad; twenty-eight lessons featuring demonization of the Other and religious intolerance were removed or heavily modified. While problematic material remains in Saudi textbooks, these represent profound changes in these categories.

Shadow of Rulers Over Doha

UNDERSTANDING QATARI AMBITION:  The Curriculum 2016–20 (Updated)
This updated IMPACT-se report continues to focus on Qatar’s school curriculum for grades 1–12. The study builds upon previous IMPACT-se research within the prism of UNESCO standards and other UN and international declarations, recommendations and documents relating to education for peace and tolerance. Our review determined that the Qatari curriculum does not yet meet those international standards.  Textbooks teach Qatari children to accept others different than themselves and advocate for peace while at the same time echoing antisemitic canards and reinforcing the Qatari regime’s support for Islamist terror organizations. Despite a slight movement away from radical jihadism, much remains. Nevertheless, Qatar’s curriculum remains heavily influenced by Western educators—displaying the Qatari gift for embracing contradictions.

PA_Selected Examples 2020-21-Pic

The 2020–21 PALESTINIAN SCHOOL CURRICULUM GRADES 1–12—SELECTED EXAMPLES
This updated May 2021 IMPACT-se study analyzed textbooks used for the 2020-21 Palestinian curriculum (West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and UNRWA) and includes selected examples from the research of 222 textbooks. Of those, 105 textbooks have not changed at all and remain as they were in 2019. Essentially, there were that no substantive positive changes made to the current Palestinian curriculum. Textbooks remain openly antisemitic and continue to encourage violence, jihad and martyrdom while peace is still not taught as preferable or even possible.

Houthi Mag. Covers

REVIEW OF HOUTHI EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS IN YEMEN_2015–19
The Ansar Allah Houthis, have penetrated the mainstream Yemeni education system as part of a campaign to spread their influence over the region. This exclusive IMPACT-se report reviews materials produced by the Houthis for use in its network of summer camps and extra-curricular classes as well as take-home materials including a monthly children’s “educational” magazine called Jihad. As an Iranian proxy, the Houthi materials mimic much of the Khomeinist rhetoric of that regime and represent some of the more egregious violations of UNESCO standards of peace and tolerance among current Middle Eastern education.

Attaturk over Erdogan's Shoulder

THE ERDOGAN REVOLUTION IN THE TURKISH CURRICULUM TEXTBOOKS
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made significant changes to Turkey’s state-approved school textbooks since taking power in 2003. This report is the fourth undertaken by IMPACT-se into the Turkish curriculum. We have identified a marked deterioration in Turkish textbooks since our last review in 2016, in regards to meeting UNESCO defined standards of peace and tolerance. On the contrary, textbooks have been weaponized in Erdogan’s attempts to Islamize Turkish society and to hark back to a nostalgic age of Turkish domination.

2020-21 UNRWA Booklets

REVIEW OF UNRWA-PRODUCED STUDY MATERIALS IN THE PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
PA school textbooks have consistently shown a systematic insertion of violence, martyrdom and jihad across all grades and subjects. Yet, it is this material that is taught in UNRWA-run schools throughout the Palestinian Territories of the Gaza Strip and West Bank as well as Jerusalem. Our research shows that UNRWA, as a UN organization, knowingly produces and teaches material in its Gaza Strip and West Bank schools that are rife with problematic content that contradicts stated UN values. UNRWA’s lack of transparency to address such problematic issues make it impossible to evaluate the effectiveness of any efforts it claims to have made.  Updated Research of post-November material shows hate remains.

Saudi Review Cover image

REVIEW OF SAUDI TEXTBOOKS 2020–21
This follow-up report of Saudi 2020-21 textbooks by IMPACT-se shows that while many problematic examples have been removed from the curriculum, some still remain. The removal of the problematic content however, should certainly be seen as a significant improvement and an encouraging development, representing a step toward moderation. Our sense is that the Saudi kingdom, along with some other countries in the region, is gradually moving in a direction that could bring it in line with UNESCO-derived standards of peace and tolerance—contingent on whether the remaining issues are addressed.

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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES—Moral Education Textbooks
This preliminary IMPACT-se report focuses on the United Arab Emirates’ “Moral Education” curriculum, taught in all Emirates public and private schools, from grades 1-12. The research covered the textbooks and teacher guides that make up the “Character and Morality” section of the UAE curriculum, measured against IMPACT-se’s UNESCO-derived standards of peace and tolerance. While the current research covers only this limited spectrum of the UAE curriculum, it is noteworthy that the content goes a long way to incorporate the values of peace and tolerance into a traditional education system. This stand-alone course is unique in the region and may reflect UAE’s emerging leadership in the reform of textbooks.

Painting of Doha

UNDERSTANDING QATARI AMBITION—The Curriculum 2016–20
IMPACT-se’s interim review of 238 textbooks of the Qatari curriculum for the calendar years 2016-20, used international standards for peace and tolerance. The curriculum appears to be in in a change-mode, moving in a direction from jihadi radicalism toward open engagement with the world. While somewhat less radical than previous versions, the process of moderation is in its infancy. Some particularly offensive material has been removed after decades of radical propaganda in Qatari schools, but while heavily influenced by Western educators, serious issues remain regarding peace and tolerance.  Interim Report   Exec Sum  Centrality of Antisemitism in the Qatari Curriculum  Problematic Content in the Qatari Curriculum_Selected Examples

Picture of Winding Road in Saudi Arabia

THE WINDING ROAD TO A NEW IDENTITY                Saudi Arabian Curriculum 2016-19
The Saudi curriculum, at this stage, should be viewed as a reflection of the efforts being made to transform an exclusively traditionalist Islamic society into one that incorporates more Western economic values and its pre-Islamic heritage. However while the curriculum tries to evolve with such inherent contradictory elements, the radical orthodoxy of the Wahhabis remains dominant. The narrowing of the gap between the kingdom’s modernization goals and their practical application—both within the curriculum and throughout Saudi society—is in the beginning stages of a work in progress.

A Tajihi Exam (Culture)

PALESTINIAN CURRICULUM PUT TO THE TEST     The General Certificate of High School Examination in Palestine (Tawjihi)
This report studies the twenty-six tests comprising the Palestinian 2019 Tajihi Matriculation Exam which tests grade 12 material from the Palestinian curriculum. The exam was analyzed according to IMPACT-se’s UNESCO-derived standards for peace and tolerance in school education.  IMPACT-se’s finding is that many of the final exams are so designed that students must study problematic content that does not meet international standards for peace and tolerance.

YTS_Peace and Conflict in Israeli Textbooks

PEACE AND CONFLICT IN ISRAEL STATE-APPROVED TEXTBOOKS: 2000–2018
The article describes the peace and conflict educational approaches found in the Jewish-Israeli curricula between the years 2000–17, and extracts the dominant themes and messages towards Muslim, Arab and Palestinian “others.”  Study findings indicate that current Israeli textbooks do not contain any overt racism or incitement against Palestinians. However, ethnocentric perceptions and victim mentality are two themes that still dominate curricular discourse and are counterproductive to peace education goals.

Picture of Rabin, Clinton and Arafat: Removed

THE REJECTION OF PEACE: References to Peace Agreements, Israel, and Jews, Now Removed from PA Curriculum
A report on selected positive content about peace, relations with Israel, and Jewish historical presence previously in the Palestinian curriculum between 2000 and 2016, now removed from the 2016–19 curriculum. Although some of the positive examples were removed even before 2016, the “new” PA curriculum represents a quantum leap backward toward radicalizing the textbooks—and unfortunately— Palestinian children.

Chart showing number of violent references in Palestinian textbooks by grade

THE NEW PALESTINIAN CURRICULUM: BY THE NUMBERS Quantitative Analysis of the Current Palestinian Ministry of Education Curriculum
A quantitative analysis of textbooks from the current Palestinian Ministry of Education curriculum, applying UNESCO-derived standards of peace and tolerance.  Additionally, in this report, we define Problematic Content as: violent connotations, incitement to violence, hatred of the Other, and radical, inappropriate or disturbing content. The accompanying graph from the report displays by grade, the number of violent references included in each textbook.

The Amman Message

JORDAN’S NEW CURRICULUM: The Challenge of Radicalism
IMPACT-se evaluates a range of topics: moderating the education of Islam for students (with emphasis on diversity and openness); layers of national identity; the idea of good citizenship, which includes gender, economic and environmental responsibility; Jordan’s approach toward the West Bank and the Palestinians; unresolved internal conflict toward its peace with Israel and compassion toward the disadvantaged.

TWO LANGUAGES ONE COUNTRY: Turkey’s Elective Kurdish Curriculum

The Kurdish textbooks appear at first glance to be simple and straightforward, no more than very little elective training in a minority population’s mother tongue . . .  a conversation about this curriculum is worthwhile because the question of Kurdish education in Turkey remains unanswered.

WASATIA EDUCATION: Exploring the Palestinian Curriculum

This booklet suggests Wasatia Education for the Palestinian educational system using the methodologies of both IMPACT-se and the WASATIA Academic Institute. It explores the present Palestinian school textbooks and identifies areas where the curriculum incites, demonizes and delegitimizes the Other while proposing concepts and values to allow for a future of coexistence, tolerance and prosperity.

THE NEW PALESTINIAN CURRICULUM: 2018-19 Update–Grades 1-12

IMPACT-se’s latest research portrays a Palestinian curriculum that accommodates the full spectrum of extreme nationalist and Islamist ideologies in both Gaza and the West Bank, including anti-Semitic motifs amid themes of continuous struggle. heroism  and martyrdom.

SYRIAN NATIONAL IDENTITY: Reformulating School Textbooks during the Civil War

For seven consecutive years a brutal civil war has been raging in Syria. This study of the Syrian curriculum examines the updated 2017–18 education contents in the areas controlled by the Assad regime while the civil war con-tinues to rage. It offers a unique look at a people in the midst of a mortal crisis.

REFORM or RADICALIZATION: PA 2017 Curriculum [A Preliminary Review]

With the first full reform of the Palestinian curriculum since 2000, IMPACT-se, in its second of three reports, covers sixty-six textbooks from the new PA curriculum of 2017–18 for Grades 5–11. Further research will provide a full assessment of the new curriculum covering Grades 1–12.  Selected Examples (Updated)

Image: Haredi Family

HAREDI EDUCATION IN ISRAEL: REINFORCING THE BARRICADES

IMPACT-se researches textbooks used in the Haredi curricula to promote a unique and separate cultural identity while  keeping  contact with  Israeli culture to a minimum. Though it fails to meet all of the UNESCO standards, Haredi education nevertheless offers some unique characteristics and advantages worth examining.

PALESTINIAN ELEMENATARY SCHOOL CURRICULUM 2016–17: RADICALIZATION AND REVIVAL OF THE PLO PROGRAM

This IMPACT-se report examines the 2016–17 Palestinian Authority school curriculum, focusing on elementary school grades 1-4.  To a greater extent than the 2014–15 textbooks, the curriculum teaches students to be expendable martyrs, rejects negotiations, demonizes and denies the existence of Israel and focuses on a “return” to an exclusively Palestinian homeland.

NEIGHBORS AND RIVALS: CHINA IN TURKEY’S EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

In July 2015, protesters throughout Turkey burned China’s flag, along with effigies of the late Chinese leader Mao Zedong. On the same day, a group of Turkish Ultra-nationalists and Islamists gathered in central Istanbul to protest the alleged restrictions on Uyghur religious freedom in China.

TURKEY’S CURICULUM UNDER ERDOGAN: THE EVOLUTION OF TURKISH IDENTITY
This well-timed report monitors Turkish school textbooks published since the AKP’s (Justice and Development Party) rise to power from 2002–15, with special emphasis on recent years (2013–15). The report examined 117 school textbooks covering subjects in the humanities, science, religious instruction and civics.

PALESTINIANS IN ISRAELI TEXTBOOKS: 2016 UPDATE
This timely report updates Impact’s analysis of the Israeli School Children current Israeli educational curriculum, particularly as it relates to the Palestinian people and the Palestinian educational process. It is based on the review of 123 state and state-religious textbooks, which were approved and recommended by the Israeli Ministry of Education through the 2017 school year.

‘Will I Be Illiterate’? In Taliban’s Afghanistan, Girls Fight Back—Attend Secret Classes, Refuse to Disappear

The underground school in suburban Kabul began in July this year, one of 50 set up by women’s rights activists, months after the Taliban regime in Afghanistan disallowed school for girls studying in classes 7 and above. In the Taliban’s interpretation of Islam, there is no sawaab in educating girls. While women have so far […]

Statement on UNRWA Response

In respect to UNRWA’s latest statement on our report reviewing UNRWA-branded school materials, labeled for use in 2022, below is an executive summary. Given that UNRWA chose to reach out in its statement to IMPACT-se for guidance on the reviewed material, we felt compelled to provide additional information. Although not within the scope of our […]

Reformers Want Schools to Stop Churning out Arabic Students Who Can’t Speak Arabic

Early this year, an Arab lawmaker caused a stir by delivering a speech on the Knesset floor in Arabic. As Ra’am MK Walid Taha held forth on a controversial bill being considered, a right-wing parliamentarian assailed him, demanding that he speak Hebrew. Days later, another right-wing MK called for legislation mandating Hebrew in the plenum. […]

Syrian Children Dream of Education in Lebanon

A Forgotten Generation: Syrian Children Dream of Education in Lebanon

Amin and his family fled Syria ten years ago, when the conflict broke out. He was just a baby when they arrived to Jbeil, Lebanon. When he was seven, Amin first joined JRS’s activities. Today, at 10 years old, he attends the JRS learning support program at Nicolas Kluiters Centre (NKC) in the morning and […]

A Case for Educational Justice in Africa

A Case for Educational Justice in Africa

Affo, 29, was born in a polygamous family comprising more than two dozen children. He is the second child to have obtained a high school degree but the only one to have gone to university. For his seven years at high school, he had to balance his studies with part-time jobs to pay tuition fees […]

Afghan Girls Waiting for Mobile School

Mobile Schools Provide Hope for Afghan Children—Especially for Girls

“Afghanistan’s education system has been devastated by more than three decades of sustained conflict. For many of the country’s children, completing primary school remains a distant dream—especially in rural areas and for girls—despite recent progress in raising enrollment.In the poorest and remote areas of the country, enrollment levels vary extensively and girls still lack equal […]

Pakistani Buses Speed Women to Education, Jobs

New Bus Line Speeds Pakistani Women to Education, Jobs

Pakistani student Mah Jabeen credits a new public bus system in her home city with saving her from being stuck at her parents’ house doing chores – or even having to get married. Thanks to the Bus Rapid Transit system in the northwestern city of Peshawar, Ms. Jabeen said she had been able to continue […]

Students attend a class at the beginning of the school year amid fears of the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Sanaa, Yemen

How Yemeni Parents Are Banding Together to Keep Their Kids in School

Seven years into a deadly and devastating war, thousands of Yemeni parents are using what little they have left to fight for an untold victim of the country’s conflict: their childrens’ education. Ahmed Mahdi, 50, is one of them. The father of three drives a taxi in Yemen’s Houthi rebel-held capital city of Sana’a. He […]

Philippine School Trolley

Trolley School Helps Philippine Children Keep Their Education on Track

A brightly decorated wooden trolley rumbles down a little-used rail track in the southern Philippines carrying four young teachers—two on the front and two in the back—pushing it along with their feet. Kitted out with a whiteboard, colorful charts, and a stack of books, the tiny, mobile school slides along from village to village three […]

Huddled in Secret Schools, Afghan Girls Refuse to Give Up on Education

Behind a yellow door in an alley blanketed by snow, 25 girls sit on the floor, huddled in coats and headscarves, in front of a white board. “What are you doing?” the teacher asks in English. “I am a student!” they chant in unison. Their plastic shoes that are piled outside the door are a […]

JP_The Emirati Curriculum_Bennett and MBZ (MS)

The Emirati School Curriculum: When Peace Goes to School

When President Isaac Herzog flies to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, marking the first official visit of an Israeli president to the Gulf state, he will be welcomed by the man who is arguably the Middle East’s most effective educational reformer. According to The New York Times, Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, […]

JI_Arab Influencer Pushing Abraham Accords from UAE

The Arab Influencer Pushing the Abraham Accords From Abu Dhabi

At the age of 28, when Loay Alshareef, then a French language student from Saudi Arabia, stumbled into his homestay in Paris to discover he was surrounded by Stars of David—his instinct was to turn on his heels and find another family to stay with. “I didn’t feel comfortable at the beginning,” he told The […]

Kurdish Education in Turkey: A Joint Responsibility

Turkish elites often see Kurds as posing a mortal threat to their homeland’s territorial integrity. Kurdish elites often harbor pan-Kurdish dreams of their own. The rise to power of Erdogan’s Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2002 appeared to imply a watershed, bringing about a measure of cultural liberalization toward the Kurds. More Islam […]

Arabic-Learning ‘Madrasa’ App Developed by Technion Students

Students from the Henry and Marilyn Taub Faculty of Computer Science at the Technion recently developed a voice-recognition app for the “Madrasa” project to help people learn Arabic. Part of the Madrasa project—which advocates for better communication in Israeli society through spoken Arabic courses—the app includes a voice recognition feature that will allow tens of […]

Egyptian Parliament Reopens Debate on Quran’s Place in the Curriculum

When the Egyptian Parliament recently considered a bill intended to support the use of Standard Arabic, the discussion grew heated between a a representative of Al-Azhar and a parliamentarian who objected to provisions about Quran memorization in primary school. Modern Standard Arabic is the formal dialect of the wider Arabic language, which there are now […]

Israelis Should Be Taught Arabic in Schools

There’s no expression that better demonstrates the new peaks Arab-Israeli relations have hit in recent years than a “picture is worth a thousand words.” Just in the past month, Israeli officials and military forces were photographed alongside Arab counterparts. A major change was also seen in the diplomatic sphere, which might not have received the […]

The Conversation_AI and Student Coding Pic

Artificial Intelligence Is Getting Better at Writing, and Universities Should Worry About Plagiarism

The dramatic rise of online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic has spotlit concerns about the role of technology in exam surveillance—and also in student cheating. Some universities have reported more cheating during the pandemic, and such concerns are unfolding in a climate where technologies that allow for the automation of writing continue to improve. Over […]

UN News_Helping Iraqi School Girls

‘It Will Help Me to Achieve My Dream’: Helping Iraqi Girls Stay in School

When COVID-19 closed schools in Basra, southern Iraq, the academic prospects for many schoolgirls were put at risk. The 2,570 primary school children from Basra’s Shatt al-Arab district who are involved in the trial project from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP), receive a cash stipend to support their education. […]

Dr. Anon Groiss-200x157

A Middle East Scholar’s Impressions of the George Eckert Institute Report on Palestinian Textbooks

The Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research recently completed its research of 174 Palestinian Authority textbooks and 16 teachers’ guides for 2017–20, grades 1-12, plus an additional seven textbooks published by the PA and modified by Israeli authorities for use in East Jerusalem schools. The research was initiated by the European Parliament upon requests […]

The Economist_Travails of Teaching Arabic

The Travails of Teaching Arabs Their Own Language

God, says the Qur’an, chose Arabic for his revelation because it is easy to understand. But many of the world’s 470 million Arabic-speakers beg to differ. According to a report by the World Bank, almost 60 percent of ten-year-olds in Arabic-speaking countries (and Iran) struggle to read and understand a basic text. Despite decades of […]

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As Most Students Return to Classrooms, Schools in Some Countries Have Been Shuttered for 18 Months Straight

Students across much of the world are trading in Zoom widows for chalkboards, in a global moment of hope and apprehension. In some places, including parts of the United States, many school doors shut for a year and a half have swung open, even amid resurgent coronavirus outbreaks. In five countries—Bangladesh, Kuwait, the Philippines, Saudi […]

IMPACT-se Review of GEI PA Report_Image of Palestinian wielding slingshot

IMPACT-se Review: The Georg Eckert Institute Report on the Palestinian Curriculum

The 2021 Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research report into Palestinian Authority textbooks is a welcome addition to the corpus of knowledge about the most recent iteration of the Palestinian national curriculum. Commissioned by the European Union, this report identifies many of the same systemic problems that other research institutes have brought to light […]

BESA_Mideast Shapes_Doha Schoolchildren-Attend Exhibition (Vinod-Divakaran)

Through Education Middle East Powers Vie to Shape the Next Generation of Muslims

Education is emerging as a major flashpoint in competing visions of a future Muslim world. Rival concepts being instilled in the next generation are likely to shape what amounts to a battle for the soul of Islam. Reports published earlier this year by the Israel-based Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education […]

Girls’ Education ‘Worth Fighting For’, Malala Tells Education Summit

“The world is facing a girls’ education crisis,” with more than 130 million girls missing out on school around the world, Malala Yousafzai has warned. “Their futures are worth fighting for,” the education campaigner told a global education summit in London. She said the recovery from the pandemic had to mean fair access to education. […]

VOA UNESCO, UNICEF-Urge School Reopenings

UNICEF, UNESCO Urge World Leaders to Reopen Schools

World leaders should prioritize reopening schools for in-person learning immediately in order to avoid a “generational catastrophe,” UNICEF and UNESCO said in a joint statement Monday. The organizations said that keeping schools closed to 156 million students in 19 countries, due to COVID-19, is causing potentially irreparable damage to child development. They also pointed out […]

Chron of Higher Edu_Escaping Oblivion

Escaping Oblivion

Nhial Deng couldn’t sleep. In late March the slender young man with deep-brown eyes lay under a low sheet-metal roof. He was thinking about a place he had never seen but often imagined. A famous bronze gate stood there, and soon he would know if he would one day walk through it. Long after midnight, […]

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Education Poses an Existential Threat to Extremism

Lying in her hospital bed in Kabul, Afghanistan, having survived an extremist group’s bombing that killed more than 80 students at her school, a 17-year-old named Arifa was as determined as she was frightened. “I will continue my education, even if I’m afraid,” Arifa, who hopes to become a doctor, vowed to Richard Engel of […]

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Refugee Children Explain How Education Helped Put Their Trauma Behind Them

Eighteen-year-old Chuol Nyakoach lives in the Nguenyyiel Refugee Camp in Gambella, Ethiopia. Chuol is grateful that despite the trauma she has already experienced in her young life, she is able to continue her education in the refugee camp. Learning has given her a reason to wake up every day. “My life has changed and ECW’s […]

BESA_Turkish, not Saudi Textbooks

Turkish, Not Saudi, Schoolbooks Under Scrutiny

In a sign of the times, Turkish schoolbooks have replaced Saudi texts as the focus of criticism of supremacist and intolerant curricula in the Muslim world. According to a recently released analysis of 28 Turkish textbooks, that country’s education system, which was once a model of secularism that taught evolution, cultural openness, tolerance toward minorities, […]

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Yemeni Teachers’ Union Slams Houthi Curriculum Takeover

Yemen’s union of teachers has denounced the Iran-backed Houthi militia’s takeover of the country’s schools and curriculum, and accused Tehran of using the education system to pursue a “policy of cultural colonialism.” Yahya Al-Yinai, head of media at the Yemeni Teachers Syndicate, told the Daily Telegraph that the Houthis have made hundreds of changes to […]

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Education Provides Hope Amid Despair for Syrian Refugees

It has been a bleak decade for Syria’s children and young people. But education is providing a ray of hope.  We met four young Syrian refugees in Lebanon who told us their stories, fears, and hopes for the future. A decade into the Syria conflict, millions of children have been born in displacement inside Syria […]

  • ‘Saviors of the Ukrainian People’: Russian Textbooks Reduce Ukrainian Nationalism to Western Interests, Study Finds

    Haaretz — August 25, 2022
    The latest IMPACT-se report evaluating 12 history textbooks from the Russian and Ukrainian national curricula was covered by Haaretz. The IMPACT-se report found that Russian textbooks delegitimize the Ukrainian government, accusing them of being corrupt and elitist. Ukrainian nationalism is described as being an extension of Western interests, and cite Ukraine’s involvement in the Holocaust to claim that Ukrainian nationalism is inextricably linked with Nazism. Ukrainian textbooks describe contentious historical events with more objectivity, and aim to instill patriotism in students. However, Russia is portrayed solely as an aggressor that has impeded Ukrainian sovereignty throughout history. Ukraine’s collaboration with the Nazis is depicted as serving the aims of their nationalist movement, with no acknowledgment of involvement in atrocities such as the Babi Yar massacre of Jews.

  • THE DOUBLE EDGED SWORD THAT IS SCHOOL CURRICULA

    Int'l Policy Digest_School Curricula-Double-Edged Sword (SR)

    International Policy Digest — Jan. 3, 2022
    School curricula present a double-edged sword in analyses of the complex relationship between education and the processes of radicalization. On the one hand, curricula can be instrumentalized to favor intolerant, hateful ideologies that endanger the prospect of regional normalization in the Middle East. On the other hand, curricula can just as powerfully be used to promote a more peaceful future based on ideals of mutual respect and tolerance. In this article, IMPACT-se textbook research reports on Saudi Arabia and Qatar are referenced to discuss this complex relationship. 

  • YEMEN, GATEWAY TO THE REGION

    Eurasia Review_Yemen, Gateway To The Region

    Eurasia Review — Dec. 13, 2021
    The civil war in Yemen has now raged since 2014, centered around the conflict between the Houthis and the internationally recognized Republic of Yemen Government. Among deep concerns for the fate of Yemen and the importance of its role in a larger campaign by Iran for influence and power, there are growing worries about the changes in Yemeni education systems. This article discusses egregious violations of UNESCO standards taught in Houthi educational materials that were found in a 2021 IMPACT-se report. 

  • Saudi Arabia Has Been Scrubbing Its Textbooks of Antisemitic and Misogynistic Passage

    School buses in Riyadh during school closure

    The Washington Post — Jan. 30, 2021
    IMPACT-se’s research on the new 2020 Saudi Arabian curriculum is covered, including the removal of an infamous hadith that called for Muslims to fight and kill all Jews on the Day of Judgement and a section that supported capital punishment for homosexual relationships. The article notes that IMPACT-se’s earlier report on the previous Saudi curriculum was highly critical, and was presented to the Royal Court and Saudi Ministry officials with detailed changes that should be made.  IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff says in the article that the new 2020 textbooks show Saudi Arabia has demonstrated a concerted effort to make content more moderate. A State Department official told the Post, “We are encouraged by the positive changes in influential textbooks used throughout Saudi Arabia.” ADL’s David Weinberg is quoted as saying, “Finally, after years of unremarkable changes, they’ve finally excised some of the hate and incitement in very real ways [although] there is still a very heavy focus on enmity with Israel and Zionism.” Sheff said that textbooks have an overwhelming influence in the Middle East, where students see their curriculum as communicating messages formulated by the state. “There is an understanding of the direct link between textbooks’ power to radicalize young people. And it works the other way around: Textbooks have this power to act as a barrier to radicalization.”

  • New York Times Quotes IMPACT-Se in Assessment of New US-Saudi Relationship

    The New York Times — Jan. 19, 2021
    The New York Times quoted IMPACT-se’s report on the updated Saudi curriculum today as evidence of significant progress in the Kingdom, in a wider piece about the potential relationship between Saudi Arabia and the new US administration. The article suggests the textbook report findings point to Saudi Arabia going through a process of modernization, which might ease tensions with a Saudi-critical President Biden. The report cited the recent review of Saudi textbooks by IMPACT-se, which found that most of the material deemed anti-Semitic had been taken out, as had text praising jihad and saying gays and lesbians should be punished with death and noted many changes since its previous report last year. Marcus Sheff, the group’s chief executive, told the Times in an interview that the Saudis were moving in the right direction, and faster than they had before. “This curriculum is not free from of hate, not free of incitement,”he said, “but Saudi Arabia has clearly made a concerted effort, an institutional effort, to modernize the curriculum.”

  • ‘Leap’ in Attitudes as Saudi School Textbooks Lose Anti-Semitic and Hardline Islamist Content

    The Telegraph — December 16, 2020
    Hardline Islamist and anti-Semitic content has been removed from Saudi Arabia’s curriculum, according to a new report, in what researchers say marks a historic shift in attitudes in the Gulf Kingdom. A study of the latest Saudi teaching materials found that official state textbooks – distributed to 30,000 schools in Saudi Arabia and abroad – no longer contained calls for non-believers and gay men to be punished by death, nor the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jews control the world. Marcus Sheff, Chief Executive of IMPACT-SE, which has reviewed official textbooks since 2003, said that in previous years, lessons had been heavily influenced by Wahhabism, a puritanical form of Sunni Islam, including “very radical” content. “The latest textbooks reflect a real leap forward and an institutional effort to remove some references to hate, including anti-Semitism, jihad, and homophobia,” he said. “There is more work to be done, but these revisions are a real cause for optimism.” Note:  Telegraph has Paywall Complete Article  HERE

  • Saudi Arabia Removes Some---But Not Yet All---Hate Speech from School Books

    Time — December 15, 2020
    Students in Saudi Arabia, like so many around the world, have traded in-person classrooms for logging onto an app during the COVID-19 pandemic. But they’re also experiencing other major shifts in Saudi Arabia’s official, country-wide curriculum, with new reforms stripping out lessons of hatred toward the “other”—whether Christian, Jewish, or gay—and dictats to defend the Islamic faith through violence. The Kingdom’s latest batch of textbooks has for the first time removed sections calling for non-believers to be punished by death, and predicting an apocalyptic final battle in which Muslims will kill all Jews, according to a report released Tuesday by a Jerusalem-based think tank that analyzes global curricula for extremist and intolerant views. The “trend line is cause for optimism,” says Marcus Sheff, CEO of the nonprofit Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, or IMPACT-se. “We do see a significant change … a real institutional effort … at the highest levels to make a change to modernize the curriculum to remove offense.”

  • Qatari Textbooks Teach Anti-Semitism: Sheff/Weinberg

    Newsweek — September 25, 2020
    On September 14th, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his Qatari counterpart signed an accord on cultural exchanges to advance what the State Department lauded as the countries’ “shared ideals of tolerance and diversity.” The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) has issued the most extensive study ever on Qatar’s official school curriculum with regard to topics of peace and tolerance, and the results are sobering. Its findings indicate that Qatar’s textbooks are on par with those issued by Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority as the worst in the region, and perhaps the world, with regard to government-published antisemitism and other forms of hate. The results of IMPACT-se’s new study are especially striking when viewed according to the rubric of the Anti-Defamation League’s new toolkit for assessing antisemitic tropes: “Antisemitism Uncovered: A Guide to Old Myths in a New Era.” The Qatari textbooks investigated by IMPACT-se propagate nearly all of the antisemitic tropes identified by ADL’s guide: power, disloyalty, greed, deicide, blood libel, Holocaust denial and anti-Jewish slanders that are framed as critiques of Zionism or Israeli policy.

  • UAE ‘Moral Education’ Curriculum in Stark Contrast to Qatar Curriculum

    Al Arabiya — September 13, 2020
    The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) recently reviewed 238 Qatari textbooks from the last four academic years.  It also reviewed textbooks from the UAE’s “Moral Education” curriculum—a government initiative launched in 2016 for public and private schools in the country. The organization found glaring differences between how the two Gulf countries are teaching young people about people of different religions and backgrounds. While IMPACT-se concluded that Qatar’s “curriculum does not meet international standards of peace and tolerance,” it found UAE’s Moral Education curriculum “aligns with UNESCO standards and UN declarations.” “I would describe the Qatar curriculum as falling short of UNESCO standards in school education,” said IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff in an interview with Al Arabiya English, while the Moral Education curriculum introduces UAE students to “the values of tolerance and respect for themselves, and others, both national and global.”

  • EU Parliament Resolutions Condemn PA Failure to Stop Hate in Textbooks

    EUReporter-EU Res-PA Texts_Screen

    EU Reporter — May 18, 2020
    The European Parliament passed three resolutions which condemn the Palestinian Authority (PA) for continuing to teach hate and violence in its school textbooks and which oppose European Union aid to the PA being used for this purpose.  German MEP Niclas Herbst of the European People’s Party stressed that “EU funds should be spent on peace and mutual understanding. Paying teachers to teach anti-Semitism and incitement to violence through Palestinian schoolbooks should never be subsidized by EU-money. The result of votes today is a strong signal on this regard.” Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se noted that EU officials told the group that its [pending] report on Palestinian curriculum will be classified. “There now must be a moment of truth for the European Union. Will it continue to ignore the parliament that oversees its spending? Will the commission now publicly release the freshly- minted report on the Palestinian Authority’s textbooks? Governments, legislators and over a million Palestinian children know what’s in the textbooks. Classifying the report is senseless and frankly, seems highly suspicious,” he said.  IMPACT-se Report

  • Time Magazine Covers IMPACT-se Saudi Textbook Report

    Time — February 10, 2020
    A recent Time Magazine article published on February 10, under the headline, “Saudi Arabia Rebuffs Trump Administration’s Requests to Stop Teaching Hate Speech in Schools,” lays out IMPACT-se’s main findings in it’s recent report on the Saudi Arabian curriculum, including the persistence of anti-Semitism in the textbooks. IMPACT-se presented the Saudi textbook report and policy recommendations at the White House, National Security Council, State Department, and Congress along with the ADL, a leader in researching Saudi textbooks and presenting policy recommendations to the U.S. Administration. IMPACT-se also presented its report to top European officials.

  • Despite Revisions, Saudi Textbooks Show Contradictions: IMPACT-se Report

    FDD/LWJ — March 30, 2020
    Following up on several recent studies of the Saudi curriculum by ADL, the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Education in School Textbooks (IMPACT-se) just completed a longer, comprehensive review of Saudi textbooks since 2016, using standards for peace and tolerance outlined by UNESCO as a benchmark. The results are eye-opening. In some respects, progress has been made. Yet, on the other hand, the latest Saudi curriculum remains plagued by intolerance. In essence, the latest Saudi curriculum seems to be something of a contradiction. On the one hand, there appears to be a real attempt to move away from jihadism. On the other, deep and destructive prejudices remain, including those that are used by extremists to justify religious violence against people demonized as the Other.  Although the kingdom has undertaken rapid reforms in several other areas—such as expanding women’s rights and curtailing the abusive religious police—the kingdom’s rulers have yet to show that they are giving similar priority to the urgent removal of incitement from government-published textbooks.

  • Norwegian Daily: Palestinian Schoolchildren Learn That Martyr Death Is ‘The Most Important Thing in Life’

    Aftenposten — November 12, 2019
    An article on the new PA curriculum by Norway’s leading newspaper follows a report and visit to Oslo by IMPACT-se last week to meet legislators of every major political party, as well as with senior leaders at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Said IMPACT-se CEO MS: “While Norwegian taxpayers fund the new and radical Palestinian curriculum, their diplomats were on the ground, working with the PA during its creation.  It should have been screamingly obvious to the Norwegian diplomats in Ramallah two years ago that they had a problem…” Socialist Party member and leader of “Friends of Palestine in Parliament” MP Petter Eide, while objecting to aid being held back, said, the new curriculum is “problematic” and that it will “make it more difficult for the Palestinians to secure international aid in the future.”

  • UK-EU Review Into Incitement in PA Textbooks Begins After Delay

    Jewish News (via TOI) — Sept. 15, 2019
    A major government review into incitement and anti-Semitism in Palestinian textbooks that was due to have been completed this month has only just begun. Following research on the PA curriculum by IMPACT-se, the Department for International Development (DfID) announced the review with the European Union six months ago, saying it would be complete by September 2019. The reason given for the six-month delay was due to a change in the Palestinian Education Minister and to contractual negotiations between the EU and the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research, tasked with carrying out the work.

  • IMPACT and WASATIA Unite to Moderate PA Curriculum

    The Algemeiner — March 14, 2019
    IMPACT-se said it will be working with Professor Mohammed Dajani Daoudi of the WASATIA Academic Institute (WAI) to “promote Wasatia education for the Palestinian educational system.” A jointly published booklet identified five “problematic categories” within current Palestinian textbooks: [encouragement] to violence; subliminal violent messaging; demonization of the Other; indoctrination to militancy; and degradation of women.
    “It is hoped that the Palestinian Authority will revise its curriculum along the lines of the international standards for peace education presented here,” Daoudi wrote.

  • IMPACT-se Report Spurs EU Study of Palestinian Textbooks

    EuroNews — May 22, 2019
    The European Union will fund a study on Palestinian school textbooks “with a view to identifying possible incitement to hatred and violence and any possible lack of compliance with UNESCO standards of peace and tolerance in education,” EU Commission Vice-President Federica Mogherini told European lawmakers. The announcement follows a damning report by IMPACT-se, a Jerusalem-based watchdog, which reviewed selected examples from the new Palestinian school curriculum for the 2018–19 academic year and concluded the material was “more radical than those previously published.”

  • Top Swiss Newspaper Questions Gov Support of UNWRA Schools

    SonntagsZeitung — Jan. 6, 2019
    “School materials that run contrary to the spirit of a two-state solution, which glorify violence, which fuel racism and anti-Semitism or trivialize violations of international law and human rights are not in compliance with the Swiss position on the Middle East,” said a spokeswoman of the [Swiss] Foreign Office (EDA). “Switzerland will examine reports such as those by IMPACT-se and discuss them with other donor nations.”  Eng. Translation

  • IMPACT-se Turkey Report Featured in NYT Article

    The New York Times — Sept. 18, 2017
    Following a report last year by Impact-se, which analyzed 117 school textbooks in Turkey and concluded that the curriculum taught human rights, was open to Darwin, gender equality, the protection of the environment, compassion toward AIDS patients and various lifestyles, critics have now challenged the overhaul of more than 170 curriculum topics by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “representing a frontal assault on the country’s already fragile tradition of secularism.” The author of the IMPACT-se report, Dr. Hay Yanarocak, said the new changes showed, “Turkey is changing its direction and is no longer, by default, a Western state.”

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