The children

Early years

Primary school years



Primary school years

© UNICEF-OPT/2004/Bociurkiw

One of the leading priorities for the UNICEF worldwide is its commitment to ensure that every girl and every boy completes a quality, primary-school education.

The Net enrolment rates for grades 1-6 stand at 94% in the 2001/02 school year, which puts the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) on an equal footing with other well developed countries in the region like Jordan and Qatar.

However, a steady decline by an average annual 1.5% in the net enrolment is apparent. Net enrolment rates are expected to be at around 90% in the school year 2003/2004.

Gross enrolment rates for grade 1-10 dropped from close to 100% to a mere 91.9% in 2003 as per Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS). The Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE) figures for this indicator are 97.5%.

Generally no significant difference between enrolment rates form girls and boys can be found.

Initial results of UNICEF supported studies on violence in schools undertaken in the summer of 2004 showed that: a considerable number of students reported that they had witnessed violence on a daily basis. 

Many school children witnessed their school besieged by Israeli troops;  had seen their school exposed to firing or shelling, a considerable number of children had been a witness to a killing by Israeli troops of a student from their school or seen the killing of a teacher in school. 

As a result, may school children were to physical violence and had even used physical violence against their school mates.  Teachers also reported that they had used physical punishment against students; with 77% of them had used verbal punishment.

Domestic violence is another challenge faced by Palestinian children.  The initial results of the study of domestic violence notes that fathers and mothers resort to physical punishment of their children. 

To address the needs of children in their primary school years, UNICEF supported the MoEHE to implement the remedial education programme.   This programme allowed some 90,000 students to continue their education despite regular interruptions to their schooling over the course of the programme.

Life skills based education was also introduced in 100 schools in West Bank and Gaza as a tool for building children’s resilience towards coping with the current situation.

During acute crisis, UNICEF was also quick to assist children and families during military incursions into the Gaza Strip, providing over 40,000 children in affected areas with remedial worksheets, school bags and stationary as well as basic clothing.

375 school-in-a box kits were also purchased and distributed to schools that were severely affected in Gaza.  These teaching kits assisted an estimated 30,000 students to continue their school learning.

To mitigate the impact of violence on the psychosocial wellbeing of children, emergency teams provided individual and group counselling to over 5,000 children affected by violent events in Gaza.

In addition, over 12,000 caregivers were equipped with techniques for detecting signs of distress and providing adequate support for their children, reaching over 60,000 children.

Important steps were also made towards improving the quality and consistency of services available for children through the development of key components of a national framework for psychosocial interventions.






Domestic Violence & Violence in Schools in oPt

  • 45% witnessed their school besieged by Israeli troops
  • 25% witnessed their school exposed to firing or shelling
  • 18% witnessed troops kill a school mate
  • 13% witnessed the killing of a teacher in school
  • 45% witnessed violence in school on a daily basis over the past year
  • 37% exposed to physical violence
  • 51% used physical violence against school mates
  • 44% of teachers used physical punishment against students
  • 52% of fathers and 60% of mothers resort to physical punishment of children
  • 55% of domestic violence victims said they'd keep it a secret
Birzeit University Study, Summer 2004


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