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University of Balamand > Academics > Faculties > Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > News & Events > Advances in Competency Based Approach

Advances in Competency Based Approach

“The world has changed and students have changed with it. Therefore, education should evolve with the evolution of society,” said Mireille Riachi in a conference entitled: Competency-Based Approach: Issues and Challenges, which was held at the University of Balamand, on May 22 and 23, 2013. The conference brought together a group of professors from a number of Lebanese universities including USJ , USEK, and Lebanese University, as well the Ministry of Education, and the CRDP. It was aimed at revisiting the current curriculum and discussing the possibility of introducing and integrating the Competency-Based Approach in the Lebanese educational curricula.

Balamand Assistant Professor Mireille Riachi said that the new approach aims at engaging students in the learning process, by developing the learners' competencies and linking learning objectives to real and practical situations.
“Students often ask about the material they are learning in school and about its relevance to practical application and use in real life” said Riachi. The novelty in the competency-based approach is to foster a sense of learning by focusing on an interactive pedagogical model that is based on debate and group work in order to construct knowledge. “Due to interdisciplinary pedagogic projects, it is the learner who investigates, participates, and constructs knowledge,” she said. This new approach will allow students to adapt to complex situations and to be able to apply the learning objectives to complex situations.
Another interesting conference presentation was dedicated to discuss autonomous learning presented by Dr. Megan Khairallah, chairperson of the Department of Education. She argued that “the main goal of most curricula is to produce independent learners who will become productive members of society.” However, she noted that these goals are not well attended to because of the different and varied ways these qualities are being taught at various colleges. Hence, she added, applying "autonomous learning" will not only allow students to display more competencies, but also help teachers afterwards in the recognition and assessment process.
The conference panelists were: Hassan Abiad, Ramzi Abou Chacra, Colette Aoun, Hachem Awada, Wassim El Khatib, Aida El Soufi, Said El Wali, Nassim Haidar,. Randa Naboulsi, Nayla Nahhas, Naim Rouaidi, Scarlet Sarraf, and Norma Zakharia.
In the closing session, the panel outlined recommendations to further advance education quality, among which were continuous teacher training and more emphasis on language skill. Applying these recommendations in the classroom and insisting on the role of the learner will   enhance and have a positive effect on the whole learning process, they argued.
The final proceedings, the findings, and the compilation of articles will be collected and published by the academic committee of the conference which is composed of Dr. Georges Nahas , Dr. Ramzi Abou Chaqra, and Dr. Siham Harb.

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