Mourners carry the body of Qusai Al-Amour who was shot dead by Israeli forces

Mourners carry the body of Palestinian youth Qusai Al-Amour, who Israeli and Palestinian officials said was shot dead by Israeli border police during a clash with protesters, during his funeral in the West Bank village of Tuqu near Bethlehem.

Israeli soldiers shoot, injure Palestinian woman

A Palestinian woman shot and wounded by Israeli soldiers, lies on the ground at Qalandiya checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Mourners carry the body of Muhey al-Tabakhi

Mourners carry the body of Muhey al-Tabakhi, 12, during his funeral in the West Bank town of Al-Ram, near Jerusalem. A Palestinian hospital official said the boy was killed after clashes erupted between Israeli forces and protesters in the West Bank.

Palestinian youths throw stones towards an Israeli military post

Palestinian youths burn tires and throw stones towards an Israeli military post following the Friday prayer, which is located next to Israel’s controversial separation barrier, between the West Bank town of Ramallah and East Jerusalem, three days after Palestinian homes were destroyed by Israeli authorities.

A Palestinian girl prays in front of the Dome of the Rock

A Palestinian girl prays in front of the Dome of the Rock, at the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as The Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City during the holy month of Ramadan.

Schools in Palestine under the Israeli Occupation

C3MRz_jWAAA7CWwA teacher gives a class to Palestinian bedouin students outdoors near the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim (seen in the background), in the West Bank village of Al-Eizariya, east of Jerusalem. The Israeli forces dismantled the caravans that were used as classrooms for the Beduin community school on February 20, residents said. According to school officials, the Israeli army informed them that the containers were removed because they did not have an Israeli-issued construction permit to stay in the area.
During the 27 years of Occupation, Palestinian educational institutions suf¬fered a drastic decline in quality and growth. No new schools were built during the first 10 years of Occupation and very few have been built since then. Thus the expansion of school facilities and the hiring of additional teachers did not keep pace with the dramatic growth in the student popula¬tion. Classrooms became increasingly overcrowded, with an average class size in government schools reaching 40 to 60 students per class.
Most government schools lacked basic facilities, such as vocational workshops and audiovisual teaching aids. Science laboratories had a shortage of the necessary equipment for carrying out experiments. Meager funding and the high number of banned books limited the schools’ capac¬ity to provide adequate libraries for their students. Extracurricular activi¬ties, vital for students’ academic, social and cultural development were prohibited by the Israeli authorities, as were science clubs and cultural lectures. In a survey carried out by the MEHE, it was found that many schools still lacked such essential facilities as proper toilets.
Additionally, the continued restrictive measures taken by the authorities against government school teachers had deprived schools from reaching sound educational standards. For example, graduates of West Bank univer¬sities could not be hired to teach in those schools. Low salaries compared to those paid to their colleagues in Jordan, Israel, UNRWA and private schools, had made it difficult for these government schools to keep their good teach¬ers or attract new ones. Low pay had sapped teachers’ morale and com¬pelled many of them to seek a second, supplementary job elsewhere.
The severity of the educational situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip reached an acute level during the Intifada. The extended and repeated clo¬sures of schools by the Israeli authorities, impacted negatively on the schools’ ability to proceed normally with a structured learning-teaching process.
Unfortunately, there are no objective data or studies to inform judgment about the quality of education or skills imparted to Palestinian children under the Occupation. In 1990, an attempt was made to fill this vacuum, and an initiative to assess the skill levels of about 3,000 elementary schoolchildren was carried out in the central region of the West Bank.¹ This unprecedented study found that elementary school children had great difficulties acquiring even basic skills in Arabic and mathematics. A num¬ber of randomly selected results among fourth-graders showed the fol¬lowing: only 24 percent tested could accurately measure [with a ruler] a given line segment that was five centimeters long; 73 percent could not add ½ + ¼. Only 2.3 percent of fourth-graders tested and 22.8 percent of sixth-graders were able to produce the required number of sentences, and those they wrote lacked relevant ideas, correct grammatical structure and appropriate vocabulary. Sixth-graders’ answers in the reading compre¬hension sections were fully correct no more than 30 percent of the time.
The situation at the other end of the education ladder, i.e., secondary education, has always been a concern for Palestinian educators. Prior to 1967, students prepared for a Jordanian-based matriculation examina¬tion, “Tawjihi,” in the West Bank, and an Egyptian-based one in the Gaza Strip. The exam depends heavily on rote learning; it does not measure critical or independent thinking; and is limited in scope and content, as it is based on the final year of schooling. In addition, the exam does not test students’ ability in the practical application of knowledge gained in the sciences and vocational education courses.
The relevance and quality of this exam have always been questioned by Palestinian educators. First, the school curricula are directly controlled by the Israelis and indirectly by the Jordanians and the Egyptians, while the Tawjihi examination itself is directly controlled by Jordan and Egypt. Second, the severity of the exam, the average pass rates and the grading levels are set each year by the Jordanian-Egyptian education ministries in relation to their own educational plans and their own universities’ needs. This, naturally, affects the results in the West Bank and Gaza as well, even though the student population in the territories may not fit into Jordan’s and Egypt’s educational planning.

Palestine : The Last Day of Occupation is the First day of Peace

Israeli and Palestinian peace activists walk behind cardboard cut-outs depicting the controversial Israeli separation barrier during a peace march at an Israeli road, near a checkpoint between the West Bank city of Beit Jala and Jerusalem.

Israeli army demolished a shanty

A Palestinian boy plays football after the Israeli army demolished a shanty, that his family lives in, near the Israeli West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim, near Jerusalem. The owners of the shanty said they were informed by the Israeli army that the demolition was carried out because they did not have Israeli-issued permits to reside in the area.

The demolished house of Palestinian

A Palestinian boy runs inside the demolished house of Palestinian Bahaa Mohammed Halil Allyan in the Arab east Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber.