Ibn Rushd Fund for Freedom of Thought

School Magazine Project (Report by project coordinator)

Joint project between the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Ibn Rushd Fund for Freedom of Thought that aims to encourage free thinking and creativity

Since 1998 the Ibn Rushd Fund has strived to achieve its goals - supporting freedom of thought, democracy and human rights in the Arab world - by awarding distinguished people who have rendered outstanding services in journalism, politics, literature and other fields. And since it was the expressed wish of the members of the fund to give some more attention to the accomplishments and creativity of the youth and young people alongside those of adults in the Arab world we contacted the Ministry of Education in Palestine to work together in the realization of this project. We would like to thank the Ministry of Education of Palestine and especially officials of the Department of Public Relations who facilitated the implementation of the project and in particular Mr. Jihad Dridi and Abdul Karim Abu Jamus as well as Ms. Asmahan Azzouni.
www.ibn-rushd.org/typo3/cms/ar/events/school-project/.

The aim of this competition project is to raise the pupil’s awareness for the problems of society around him and discover his relationship with them and be able to discuss these problems freely. It was agreed to hold a competition for a period of three months - from November 2012 until January 2013 - between the two secondary schools – the Helmi Hanoun High Basic Boys School and Al-Omariya Girls School in Tulkarem/Palestine. The participating pupils were to conduct researches in libraries and online via web sources on a subject of their own, supervised by a teacher and a journalist for each school in weekly meetings to guide them in news text writing, style and language aspects. In every school two groups of pupils were formed, each consisting of 5 pupils. Each group issued a school magazine of its own, containing main topics that pupils are concerned with, in which social problems were analyzed and discussed to get a better understanding and explanation for the reason of their existence. At the end of the three months all four groups sent their works to the Ibn Rushd Fund to be accessed by a specialized committee of jury. To facilitate the task the Ibn Rushd Fund had provided each school with a laptop and a digital camera and paid a small fee for the journalists and teachers who supervised the project as compensation for their effort and time. In total the Ibn Rushd Fund has invested nearly 2000 Euros to cover the costs of the project.

The main intention of this experimental pilot project is to encourage independent  thought in young pupils  by allowing them to exercise  methods of research in libraries and the internet without outside influence restricting or regulating their individual creations – provided they comply with the principles of the Ibn Rushd Fund.

It was not easy for the members of the jury - personalities from different Arab countries - to decide who will be the winner in this competition. They expressed their acknowledgement of all four groups for their efforts and their appreciation of their work with the hope to continue this activity. They also praised the supervisors – teachers and journalists - who accompanied the project and helped make it possible and successful. For members of the jury click on the following link.

Readers of the magazines will be impressed with the relatively high level of work and  the diversity of ideas and themes, written by pupils aged  14-16. According to the criteria and standards set by the members of the jury, the winning magazine was “al-Ghusn” from Helmi Hanoun High Basic Boys School. The young journalists (editors of “al-Ghusn” magazine) are: Faris al-Jamal, Muhamed Tammam, Mohamed Najjar, Fathi az-Zuqla, Abdul Rahman al-Qaisi. Their supervisors were the teacher Mr. Ziad Qashou’ and the journalist Murad Yassin. Their magazine got the best result and was winner of the Ibn Rushd Prize for School Journalism 2013, which was awarded on Monday, 25th of March 2013 during a ceremony at the Education Directorate in Tulkarem in presence of the pupils, teachers and representatives of ministry of education as well as two representatives of the Ibn Rushd Fund Ms. Nabila Bushnaq and Mr. Dr. Imad al-Sadr who presented the award to the young editors of the magazine "al-Ghusn". In addition, certificates of appreciation were handed out to all participating pupils by the Ministry of Education. For photos of the event see

We should not forget to mention here our high regard and appreciation of the other three magazines, which were a great accomplishment as well. Our true thanks and acknowledgement of the endeavors and organizational efforts go to Ms. Nida’ Hamdan, Director of Al-Omariya Girls School and to supervising teacher Nihaya Fakhoury as well as to supervising journalist Huda Habayeb.

The original plan was to publish the test of the winning magazine only in the online magazine of Ibn Rushd Fund “Minbar Ibn Rushd”. However, it was a tough choice as all four magazines were close to each other and we thought it would be a loss to do without the other three, which had the admiration of the jury. So we have decided to publish them all in Minbar.

We wish you a good reading of the texts of the younger generations in Palestine!

Dr. Nabil Bushnaq
Honorary President of the fund and coordinator of the school magazine competition project