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The protracted conflict and the occupation have compromised the access to education in the occupied Palestinian territory. In the West Bank, access to education is undermined due to the detention of children, military operations and settler-related incidents; the shortage of physical infrastructure due to building restrictions in Area C and East Jerusalem; and movement restrictions such as the checkpoints and the Barrier. In the Gaza Strip, armed conflict and the resulting damage and destruction of facilities, the Israeli Blockade, and the internal Palestinian divide, have severely disrupted services, including the ability to conduct regular educational activities. Combined with their negative psychosocial effects, these factors have affected student wellbeing, performance and completion rates.
Articles, statements and press releases
East Jerusalem/Ramallah, 30 January 2019 - “As the second school term resumes in the State of Palestine, we remain deeply concerned by the high number of reported incidents of interference in or near schools in the West Bank since the beginning of the school year. These incidents are impacting children’s safe access to education. Incidents of interference in schools by Israeli Forces, demolitions, threats of demolition, clashes on the way to school between students and security forces, teachers stopped at checkpoints, and the violent actions of Israeli forces and settlers on some occasions, are impacting access to a safe learning environment and the right to quality education for thousands of Palestinian children.
This school year (since August 2018), the Education Cluster has observed an upward trend in the number of incidents involving Israeli forces and/or settlers reported as taking place in or near Palestinian schools in the West Bank and that disrupt access to and activities at these schools. Incidents recorded include delays and harassment of children travelling to school, at checkpoints and elsewhere; clashes in the vicinity of schools; and violent raids and search operations inside schools.
Over 68 per cent of households in the Gaza Strip, or about 1.3 million people, are severely or moderately food insecure, according to the preliminary findings of the latest Socio-Economic and Food Security Survey (SefSec) carried out in 2018. 4 This is despite the fact that 69 per cent of households in Gaza reported in the survey that they receive some form of food assistance or other forms of social transfers from Palestinian governmental bodies or international organizations. The current food insecurity rate in Gaza constitutes a rise of 9 percentage points from the equivalent figure for 2014 (59 per cent), the last time the SefSec was conducted. By contrast, food insecurity in the West Bank stands at nearly 12 per cent of households according to the same survey, down from 15 per cent in 2014.
With funding received through the Humanitarian Fund for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt HF), World Vision provided a 50-hour training course for 15 school counsellors from the southern Hebron area, including Susiya. The counsellors learned how to provide psychological support to students like Kasim, through extracurricular activities. The training was implemented as part of a project called “Building the Resilience of Vulnerable Schools.”
Funding for humanitarian activities is at an all-time low this year for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). At the end of July, the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) requirements were only 24 per cent funded; this is a significantly lower level of funding compared with the same period over the past eight years. Humanitarian financing to the oPt has typically fluctuated in response to significant shifts in the context, with notable peaks in financial contributions in response to active hostilities in Gaza. Following the last escalation of hostilities in 2014, humanitarian financing to the oPt has been gradually, but definitively, decreasing year on year.
In the Gaza Strip, recurrent conflict and the ensuing damage and destruction of educational facilities have disrupted services and impacted the psychosocial wellbeing of children and teachers.