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UN agencies: Palestinian children denied education
Published Thursday 16/09/2010 (updated) 17/09/2010 16:54
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Palestinian students inspect their school, Dar Al-Fadila, in Gaza in December
2010, one year after it was bombed by Israel. [MaanImages/Hatem Omar]
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The new school year saw 40,000 children turned away from classrooms in Gaza and more than 10,000 children in the West Bank return to school in tents, caravans and tin shacks, UN agencies say.

UNRWA, the UN body set up to assist Palestinian refugees, said Wednesday that it has been unable to build new schools in Gaza since 2007 due to Israel’s siege. The "almost absolute ban on the import of construction materials has left students with lots of pens and notebooks but without classrooms," an UNRWA statement said.

Turning away students is only one consequence of the classroom shortage, the agency says, adding that students already learn in two shifts with up to 50 students in each class, while oversized metal containers are used as classrooms.

Israel announced that it would ease its four-year siege of the coastal enclave in June after Israeli forces killed nine passengers on a ship bringing supplies to the Strip, sparking international outcry. However, UNRWA says Israel has not yet approved any construction materials needed for UNRWA schools and has only agreed to "negotiate" coordinating materials for eight of the 100 schools needed.

"All of the temporary measures and substitutes have already been exhausted," UNRWA’s Gaza director John Ging said, explaining that realizing the right to education for Gazan children relied on the continued construction of schools.

Many of Gaza's schools were damaged by Israel's December 2008 assault on the Strip, and 82 percent of this damage has still not been repaired, UNICEF and UNRWA reported.

No repairs for West Bank schools

UNICEF said that in the West Bank, Israel's restrictive permit regime in Area C meant that over 10,000 children began their school year in tents, caravans, or tin shacks.

Area C encompasses 60 percent of the West Bank under zoning regulations established in the Oslo Accords. It is under full Israeli civil and military control, and the UN has said it is "nearly impossible" for Palestinians to obtain permits from Israel to maintain, repair or build in Area C.

At least one-third of the schools in Area C have "totally inadequate" sanitary facilities, lack water and fall "far short" of basic safety and hygiene standards, UNICEF reported.

Further, UNICEF warned that constant harassment by settlers and Israeli soldiers, as well as forced displacements and home demolition, caused children psychological distress.
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1 ) southparkbear / usa
16/09/2010 20:57
zer goot, learning via the hard way is best

2 ) Moll / SA
17/09/2010 00:21
It's the curricular content and teaching methods that need analysis. Propaganda leads only to the acquisition of one skill. It is not "educational" content. The "teaching" methods used are akin to methods used in brain-washing -- meaningless repetition, rewards/punishment. All this done to children whose innate objective is to please the primary care-giving adults! UNRWA schooling problems in the refugee camps is a function of UNRWA mismanagement. Disband UNRWA. NOW.

3 ) Emile / USA/Palestine
17/09/2010 01:54
1) Next time a bus explodes like popcorn you will know why.

4 ) southparkbear / usa
17/09/2010 03:06
ok from the goodness of my heart I am willing to start classes for free for the children.
lesson 1. if uma tells a lie and aboya tells a lie = 2 lies

5 ) Terry / Sweden
17/09/2010 20:13
The only brainwashing is the curriculla in Israel. Israeli kids cannot even study proper history as to what happened during the state's formation until today. The curriculum of Palestinian students is much more progressive. Moll is completely turning reality upside down. But that is what Zionist extremists always do. Israel are victims according to the Zionist propaganda narrative and windbags such as Moll/SA.

6 ) southparkbear / usa
18/09/2010 00:24
terry from malmo zveden, i agree the lego train recently build show the advanced technology edge baleztinian education has over israel's

7 ) Martin O'Brien / UK
18/09/2010 15:20
Isn't UNRWA concerned primarily with Israel's 1948 refugees and the descendants of these? If so, the state of Israel, as currently constituted and governed, is preventing UNRWA from providing, at the rest of the world's expense, the educational and other services that Israel should have been providing within Israel for over sixty years. The major powers are part of this oppression for letting it happen and for not even putting the cash donated to UNRWA as a debt to be paid finally by "Israel"

8 ) southparkbear / usa
19/09/2010 23:32
martin guinesse o'brien, unwra has no desire to see baleztinian beoblez leaving the camps. threre are so many baleztinians working for unwra. no one there wants to see their job cut off. it's an easy pay for doing nothing. did any of the camps in lebanon improved? of course not they got better. only camps under israel control saw improvement no thanks to unwra
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