Birzeit University

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Birzeit University

Nabiha Nasir was the driving spirit behind the school that eventually became Birzeit University. Nabiha was asked by her former teacher, Ratibeh Shkair (who hailed from Lebanon), to help her establish a girls school in Lebanon, but Nabiha countered with the suggestion that they establish a school in Birzeit, where the need was great. The school was established in 1924 and was called Birzeit School for Girls, and Ratibeh Shkair was the headmistress. (Despite the name of the school, boys were also admitted at the request of the community). The year 1932 marked several turning points in the schools history. Ratibeh moved to Beit Jala that year to establish the Rai Assaleh School there (now known as the Good Shepherd Swedish School), and Nabiha then became the headmistress at Birzeit. A separate school for boys was established, and Wadi Tarazi assumed the role of headmaster of that school. With the establishment of a boys school, the institution clearly had outgrown its original name, and so it was renamed Birzeit High School - the label referred to both the boys and the girls schools. In 1942, the school was renamed Birzeit College. The name change did not reflect a change in the curriculum or school structure; at the time, it was customary for schools to be called colleges. Years later, this practice was officially discontinued, but by that time Birzeit had become a college in the sense that the label is used today, and so the name was retained.