Education in the Gaza Strip

In Gaza, 245 UNRWA schools serve over 225,000 students. These children grow up in bleak conditions, frequently surrounded by poverty and violence. School provides them with one place where they are able to learn the skills for a better future.
 
Years of underfunding have left the education system in Gaza overstretched, with 94 per cent of schools operating on a double-shift basis, hosting one 'school' of students in the morning and a different group in the afternoon. As a result, children’s education is severely truncated. In 2006 examinations, nearly 80 per cent of students failed mathematics, and more than 40 per cent failed Arabic. 
 
To reverse this alarming trend, we introduced a 'schools of excellence' initiative, which includes:
 
  • A dedicated human rights curriculum
  • The promotion of respect and discipline in violence-free schools
  • The provision of basic snacks to help students focus on their schoolwork and encourage them to attend school
  • Support materials for low achievers and enrichment materials for gifted and talented students
  • Assistance to vulnerable and low-achieving students, including summer learning programmes, after-school classes and comprehensive health assessments
  • Additional class time in Arabic and mathematics
  • Summer Fun, a programme of recreational activities that provides children with much-needed relief

Given the particularly challenging context in Gaza, UNRWA introduced a standard human rights course based on materials developed through our human rights, conflict resolution and tolerance programme. To further enhance its effectiveness and depth in Gaza, we introduced a dedicated curriculum for weekly human rights classes for students in the first through sixth grades in 2009. The Agency is now developing a dedicated human rights curriculum for higher grades.

Along with our primary education services, UNRWA also provides technical and vocational training opportunities to about 1,300 students each year at its training centres in Gaza and Khan Younis, targeting the poorest and most vulnerable low-achieving students. The training provides students with space to develop themselves and their skills, which can help them find their way out of poverty.