The right of children to an education is enshrined in the International Bill of Human Rights, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. Recognizing that education is fundamental to helping each child achieve his or her full potential, UNRWA has worked for over 60 years to ensure that all Palestine refugee children have access to quality education.
One of our main aims, based on our commitment to Palestine refugees’ human development, is to help children and youth gain appropriate knowledge and skills by providing universal primary education. High-quality basic education provides young Palestine refugees with an understanding of their place in the world and a common set of key values, including dignity, tolerance, cultural identity, gender equality and human rights, and helps them develop the skills to thrive as adults in an evolving, challenging landscape.
UNRWA operates 677 elementary and preparatory schools in its five areas of operation, as well as eight secondary schools in Lebanon, providing free basic education for around half a million Palestine refugee children. In addition, vocational training and higher education is provided at eight Vocational Training Centers for 7,000 Palestine refugees in all fields and for 2,100 students in 2 educational science faculties and teacher training institutes (one in the West Bank and one in Jordan). UNRWA students’ literacy and levels of educational attainment are among the highest in the Middle East. Our programme has also been committed to maintaining gender parity, a benchmark we first achieved in the 1960s.
In 2011, the UNRWA education programme began a major four-year reform to help us meet the evolving demands of an education system in the twenty-first century. The reform will also lead to improved services for the Palestine refugee students in UNRWA schools, vocational training centres and educational faculties. This will be achieved through:
Schoolchildren in UNRWA schools follow the host authorities’ curricula and textbooks. UNRWA supplements these with its own materials on human rights. For more information about textbooks, visit:
Palestinian Curriculum Development Center (English and Arabic)
Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education (Arabic)
Lebanese Ministry of Education website (Arabic, French and English)
In the West Bank, UNRWA provides only preparatory education; secondary students matriculate into national schools. Nonetheless, we operate 97 educational facilities in the field, which reach over 50,000 students. The Agency also operates two vocational training centres, where over 1,000 students are trained in skilled trades and manufacturing.
The 2011/12 academic year saw a significant decrease in violence in and around UNRWA school premises. This was matched by an increase in achievement, with UNRWA West Bank schools outperforming Palestinian Authority (PA) schools in nationally...Read more
Young Palestine refugees, many of them students, have been especially vulnerable to the effects of the conflict in Syria. Because the majority of UNRWA schools are located within the Palestine refugee camps themselves – in areas that have suffered serious violence – one of the most pernicious of these effects has been a disruption in their education.
Before the outbreak of the conflict, all of the 118 UNRWA schools in Syria were running on double shifts to provide around 67,300 students with primary and secondary education, following the Syrian curriculum. Violence, damage,...Read more
Lebanon is the only field where we offer secondary education. In total, we serve 38,173 students at 68 schools throughout the country. UNRWA also operates one vocational training centres, which reach 1,143 students.
Our office has taken a special interest in inclusive education for students with disabilities. Around Saida, we are piloting the Special People Special Focus (SPSF) project, in coordination with other UNRWA departments as well as NGOs. The project includes awareness-raising campaigns for school staff, parents and community members; building teachers’ capacity to...Read more
In Jordan, UNRWA provides basic education to over 118,500 students at 174 UNRWA schools. Students in the fourth, eighth and tenth grades take national quality-control tests in the core subjects – Arabic, English, science and maths – and consistently achieve better results than students from private or government schools.
We are also excited to be able to provide university education in teaching, Arabic and English to about 1,200 students through the Faculty of Educational Sciences and Arts. We plan to add a fourth specialty, geography, in the 2013/14 academic year.
Based on...Read more