26 July 2018

State of Palestine: Out-of-school children

Executive summary: The country report on out-of-school children (OOSC) in the State of Palestine is the product of a year-long collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Motivated by their shared commitment to securing the right of every child in Palestine to inclusive and equitable quality education, the out-of-school children country report puts a spotlight on 5-15-year old children excluded from and within education. To this end, the report undertakes three tasks. It first provides detailed analyses of 5-15-year-old children who are both out of school, and who are in school but are at risk of dropping out, using the analytic frameworks developed by the Global Initiative on Out-of- School Children (OOSCI). It then identifies and describes the barriers that contribute to these children’s exclusion from education. Concurrently, it presents brief descriptions of existing policies and efforts towards addressing these barriers and recommends ways to strengthen existing efforts. Finally, the annexes to this report provide an in-depth exploration of three particular groups: children living in the Gaza Strip, 16-17-year-old children, and children living in East Jerusalem. This Executive Summary highlights the main findings from the analyses of children who are out of school or who are currently in school but are at risk of dropping out, the barriers bringing about their exclusion from and within education, and the landscape of pertinent policies. Those barriers to accessing quality education in the State of Palestine are grounded in the context that includes the reality of the ongoing development of Palestine’s education system, Israeli occupation and frequent episodes of armed conflict. Out-of-School Children and the Dimensions of Exclusion from Education The OOSCI has developed an analytic framework that seeks to understand out-of-school children through five dimensions. These five dimensions include two different groups of children: children who are out of school (Dimensions One, Two and Three) and children who are in school but are at risk of dropping out (Dimensions Four and Five). Thus, the term “exclusion” takes on a different meaning for each group. For children who are out of school, the term refers to their exclusion from education. For children who are in school but are at risk of dropping out, the term refers to their possible exclusion within education as a result of non-inclusive teaching practices and discriminatory attitudes in the school environment, among others.