Since 2002, Kulturtanken has worked with various music cooperation projects in Palestine. In our current program, Learning by Music, Kulturtanken contributes in different School projects in Palestine, in close cooperation with the program owner, the Palestinian culture organization Sabreen. The main goal of the projects is to educate music teachers and strengthen the of use of music in the pedagogy in the Palestinian elementary schools.
Training of teachers has been Sabreen’s main task. In 2015 more than 600 teachers were certified to teach music. At the same time, the Ministry of Education in Palestine, decided that music was to be one of five main components to help children cognitively understand all subjects, thus encompassing the entire curriculum in all the country's schools.
In the current program, Learning by Music, educating general teachers is still a main priority. Visits by musicians to schools across the West Bank are still important, as is the summer school of music for oppressed children. School concerts are a vital part of our music collaboration, and help to give children in Palestine access to the arts in their community and in their own schoolyard. A large number of Palestinian artists have performed Arabic music for schoolchildren, and this is also essential in the efforts to build a Palestinian state and identity for future generations.
Background and history
Music education and the live music field is underdeveloped in Palestine. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs saw the opportunity for creating a development program based on music after Norway was selected to take part in the 2000 years’ anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Sabreen has been a partner throughout the whole development period. Their role has been changing from being the host of a Norwegian based development program, to taking strong ownership of the program leaving Kulturtanken in an advisory role. This is a positive development, as the sustainability of the project is being constantly strengthened . This is an impressive achievement by the Sabreen organization considering the difficult political situation. External evaluations have given credit to the partners all along. Therefore, Sabreen was also invited to lead a music project in Jordan together with Kulturtanken (2012 to 2014).
Sabreen was initially a band with its own studio in East Jerusalem. Eventually, they became a developmental organization in the music field. Their main work has been to make general teachers capable of teaching music. Not as professional music teachers, but with a certification issued by the Ministry of Education. In addition, Sabreen wanted to introduce the Palestinian version of school concerts based on Norwegian experience and training. They have tried to establish music clubs in various cities in the West Bank, arranging cultural education activities for children and families in the afternoons and evenings.