Colleges and universities around the world are asking critical questions in light of COVID-19 lockdowns. What does education look like each month during different phases of the pandemic? What should they do about the fall semester?
Palestine is still on lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which initially flared in Bethlehem after being imported by international visitors. Bethlehem Bible College in Palestine has some unique advantages and disadvantages. Some of the institution’s own students and even a staff member were infected, meaning they had to take a serious approach to the coronavirus early on.
Rev. Dr. Jack Sara, president of Bethlehem Bible College says, “All public institutions and private institutions were asked to close their doors, and that included Bethlehem Bible College. Since the fifth of March, we had to stop all our campus activities and send…everybody home.”
However, when the college transitioned to online courses for the semester, they were in somewhat familiar territory.
“Bethlehem Bible College is one of the only institutions that could provide theological education for Arabic-speaking people globally and locally,” Sara says. “So our students before have been used to taking some online classes or blended classes.”
Staff and faculty who are able to work remotely took laptops and other resources home to continue supporting Bethlehem Bible College students. Some of the students have struggled with access to good quality technology for their courses but otherwise, the online classroom transition was rather smooth.
Looking ahead, Sara says, “Our hope now is to be able to finish the semester for our students… I hope that we will be able to conduct graduation either in June or July.”
The biggest challenge now for the college is a financial one. The city of Bethlehem depends heavily on tourism, and this local tourist industry also benefits Bethlehem Bible College year-round.
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Lyndsey Koh
CALL TO ACTION
- Pray wisdom for Bethlehem Bible College as they navigate the pandemic.
- Ask the Lord to protect the health of the staff, faculty, and students.
- Pray for believers in Palestine to remain hopeful in Christ.