By Fida Hussain Sodagar
Knowledge is power. It is more powerful when it confronts oppression. History is testimony to the fact that knowledge and education have brought greatest revolutions. The onset of illegal Israeli occupation unleashed a wave of bloodshed in Palestine. The Israeli state tried to break the existence of Palestine through brutal genocides in the history of mankind. They tried to annihilate the Palestinian’s economically, socially, and educationally. But the commitment towards the education that Palestine reflected even in the worst of times is a classical example of “Knowledge determination”.
Birzeit University (BZU), located north of the West Bank city of Ramallah in Palestine was named as one of the top universities in the world. Birzeit was ranked in the top 2.7 per cent of universities worldwide. Last year, it was listed among top 3, this year despite being the bloodiest year in Palestine it has improved its rank. Birzeit University was included in the rankings, which surveyed 26,000 universities from 85 different countries.
The rankings were published by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), a British company specializing in collecting and analyzing higher education data. QS Graded the universities based on six metrics, including academic reputation, faculty-student ratio, employer reputation, citations per faculty, international student ratio and international faculty ratio. Birzeit University retained its title as Palestine’s best university in all the indicators, while exceeding a number of well-known regional and international universities in terms of academic reputation. The repeated repression by Israeli forces did not deter the University to work for flourishing the education in the conflict torn region.
In March, undercover Israeli soldiers assaulted and abducted Birzeit Student Council Leader, Omar Al-Kiswani, after they entered the campus pretending to be journalists. Despite the political thwarts imposed by the Israeli occupation and facing many obstacles, the University continued its efforts to its academic excellence and beautify its educational and research infrastructure.
To retain academic excellence in the land of genocides is an illusion that has been made a reality in Palestine. The Palestine’s thirst for knowledge will continue to sow the seeds of a struggle more vehemently. The flower of knowledge will blossom in the land of bloodshed.
The author is P.G in Mass Communication and Journalism and writes on various issues. He can be reached at: [email protected]