© UNICEF oPt/2008/El Baba


The ongoing conflict and occupation, internal divisions, and rising poverty are stunting education outcomes for children across oPt, jeopardising the Palestinian reputation for being the best educated in the Middle East.

While literacy rates, particularly for females, are still among the highest in the Arab world, basic education enrolment rates have dropped from 96.8 per cent in 2000–2001 to 91.2 per cent in 2006–2007. Learning achievement rates are plummeting. In 2008, only 19.7 per cent of 16,000 sixth-graders in Gaza passed standardized tests in Arabic, Mathematics, Science and English, compared with around 50 per cent of their peers in Nablus and Jenin.  At least 30 per cent of adolescents do not enrol in secondary school.

A Birzeit University study reports that around 45 per cent of children in Gaza and the West Bank have seen soldiers besiege their school, 25 per cent have seen their school exposed to firing or shelling, and 18 per cent have seen a school mate killed. Children across the West Bank, especially near the Israeli-constructed Barrier, navigate checkpoints and road blocks just to get to their classrooms.

Serious challenges include over-crowded and ill-equipped classrooms, rising violence, inadequate learning materials and insufficient facilities for extracurricular activities.

UNICEF will continue to enable children to keep learning, despite the conflict, closures and violence. UNICEF will support child-friendly learning and better education quality by:

• Creating school environments that encourage children, particularly girls, to enroll and complete school through teacher training, the provision of interactive teaching and learning material, and implementing recreational activities that encourage stress relief and play;
• Improving the quality of basic education by supporting information management systems, training, and supplies;
• Supporting younger children with early education opportunities in order to better prepare them for basic education; and
• Providing intensive remedial opportunities for adolescents at risk of dropping out of school.



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