Al-Quds Open University
Al-Quds Open University (Arabic: جامعة القدس المفتوحة) is an administratively, academically and financially independent public university. According to the university's website, it was established in Amman, Jordan, by a decree issued by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and started operating in the Palestinian territories in 1991.
QOU is the only open distance education institute in the Palestinian territories. It has over 60,000 students studying in 24 educational regions and centers distributed all over the West Bank and Gaza Strip.:
|Al-Quds Open University|
|Location||Various cities, Palestinian Authority, UAE, Saudi Arabia|
Al-Quds Open University mission
QOU's (2005–2010) mission is summarized on its website  as follows:
- Applying and spreading the philosophy of Open Distance Learning by implementing up-to-date methods of education, applying technical improvements, developing the university infrastructure and educational curricula with focus on students to be the center of the educational process.
- Extending Open Distance Education services to as many students as possible, granting BA and MSc degrees in varied programs in addition to Diploma in Education program.
- Providing students with moderate environment away from ideological and political conflicts, and encourage freedom of thinking and speech.
- Fulfilling the business market and society's needs by offering mostly needed academic programs, besides increasing focus on the practical application side of learning.
- Seeking to change the university to an electronic university. Having full commitment to the application of intensive quality principles, and needed qualified staff, financial support and training.
- Emphasizing cooperation and strong ties with the local, regional and international educational, social and economical institutions.
Al-Quds Open University Mission
The university offers it services based on open learning philosophy. The university prepares it graduates to meet the needs of the community and workforce. They will also have the capability and ability to compete in the local markets based on the latest educational techniques and technologies. The university is also working on emphasizing the role of academic research, and increasing its interaction with the community. This in turn will result in achieving the total growth without compromising the total quality control.
The university offers five programs leading to BA Degree in Technology and Applied Sciences, Agriculture, Social and Family Development, Administrative and Economic Sciences, and Education. The university has announced plans to create Post Graduate School in the near future.
According to the University's website, the university has four centers. According to the European Institute for Research on Mediterranean and Euro-Arab Cooperation, these are "scattered throughout the Occupied Territories, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates".
- Information and Communication Technology Center (ICTC): This center considered of the most important centers that serve the university. It is responsible for the technical development, computerizing all administrative, academic, financial and productive works of the university.
- Avincenna Knowledge Center (Virtual University): This center is aims at boosting exchange methods of education and knowledge innovations through a network of electronic centers across the Mediterranean. About fifteen countries - including Palestine - participate in the project represented by QOU.
- Continuing Education Center (CLC): This center was created in an attempt to deepen the university's educational message and the connections between academic knowledge and practical experience.
- Media Production Center: This center is responsible for producing educational multimedia to support the philosophy of distance education. The center uses the latest technologies for that purpose (i.e. audio-video, video editing units, graphics and filming.)
Some achievements of the university are:
- Increasing the number of students to 60,000 which makes it the biggest non-campus university in Palestine.
- Opening 24 educational regions and study centers in different parts of the country.
- The establishment of the biggest computerized network in Palestine by the ICTC which is an accredited testing center for specialized international certificates. It also has most of its systems and curricula computerized. The network, a partnership with the Palestinian Development Gateway, was funded by the Programme for Assistance to the Palestinian People, part of the United Nations Development Programme.
- Being granted the recognition and membership of the most important higher education organizations and networks on the international and the regional level. Furthermore, the university has been through external evaluation and got high results.
Al-Quds Open University's membership in Arab and international educational unions
QOU has membership of the following Arabic and international unions:
- Arabic Universities Union
- Islamic World Universities Union
- The International Assembly for Distance Learning
- Asian Union for Open Universities
- International Union for Universities
- The Arabic Organization for Education, Culture and Sciences
- The Arabic Network for Open and Distance Education
Al-Quds Open University is twinned with Goldsmiths Student Union in London, after Goldsmiths students passed a motion in support of Palestinians' right to education and began a Twinning Campaign to 'twin' their University with Al-Quds and secure two scholarships for two Al-Quds Open University students onto Goldsmiths courses. In May 2008 the Dean of Student Affairs equivalent of Al-Quds Student President visited Goldsmiths, spending a week with students and staff.
- University Homepage (Arabic)
- University Homepage (English)
- The Roles of Palestinian Intellectuals in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: a project of the Alternative Information Center and Open University
- Management Role of al Quds Open University