|PCHR Organizes Workshop on Reality of Elementary Education in the Gaza Strip|
|Written by PCHR|
|Tuesday, 23 October 2012 00:00|
On Tuesday, 23 October 2012, the Economic and Social Rights Unit of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) organized a workshop titled ‘The Reality of Elementary Education in the Gaza Strip', which took place in Al-Quds International Hotel in Gaza City. The workshop was attended by a number of specialized persons representing the Education Department in UNRWA, the private education sector and a number of education institutions in the Gaza Strip.
The Director of the Economic and Social Rights Unit, Mr Khalil Shaheen, opened the workshop by welcoming the continued coordination and cooperation between PCHR and education institutions in the Gaza Strip. The workshop aimed to discuss the current status of elementary education in the Gaza Strip in terms of quality, and outline the requirements for developing the education sector. The participants also discussed the impact of the illegal Israeli closure of the Gaza strip on the development of elementary education and the ability of educational institutions to meet their needs. Mr Shaheen underlined the important principle that education is the right of every person, and that international human rights standards provide for mandatory free education at least in the mandatory and fundamental stages.
Mr Azzam Sha'ath, a researcher for the Economic and Social Rights Unit, gave a presentation titled ‘The Right to Education in International Instruments and Palestinian Legislation’, in which he outlined the most notable articles on the right to education in international instruments, particularly Article 26 in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and Articles 13 and 14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. He also addressed the right to education in Palestinian legislation, particularly as provided for in the Palestinian Basic Law, which was amended in 2003.
In his presentation titled ‘The Reality of Education in UNRWA’, Dr Mahmoud Hemdyat, director of the Education Department in UNRWA, explained that UNRWA's mission is to provide quality education according to the needs of the students and their abilities. He praised the adoption of the Palestinian curriculum in 2000, which established a consistent curriculum in schools throughout the Gaza Strip. Mr Hemdyat also addressed the difficulties, mainly economic, which the Education Department in UNRWA is facing; the education budget is fixed although the annual enrollment of students in the first grade has increased to 30,000. He also pointed out that more than 91% of schools work on two shifts. He outlined how UNRWA will seek to reduce the number of schools working on two shifts by building 203 schools by the school year 2014/2015.
Mohammed Hamed al-Jedi, former Director General of Public Education in the Gaza Strip, discussed the stages which the elementary education sector has gone through in the Gaza Strip since the Israeli occupation began. He noted the important role of parents in promoting elementary education. Al-Jedi called upon the Ministry of Education to use advanced educational methods, extracurricular education, and improved dialogue between the student and teacher. Al-Jedi also called for increased coordination between the governmental education sector and the private education sector in a way that serves the interest of students and society.
In his presentation titled ‘Between Education and National Security’, Mohammed Shahin, an education expert, noted that developed countries have a strong interest in promoting education and that education occupies a special place in state spending.
Following the presentations, the audience participated in an open discussion during which they asked a number of questions.
· Calling for concerted efforts between all interested parties to promote education with the aim of improving the quality of the learning environment and achieving concrete results;
· Emphasizing that the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip, including the ban on the entry of construction materials needed for the reconstruction schools, is a systematic Israeli policy that negatively impacts the realization of the right to education and should be stopped immediately;
· Calling upon the international community to take effective action in order to bring an end to the closure of the Gaza Strip and open all the border crossings;
· Calling upon the Ministry of Education to build a clear strategy for training and building capacity of teachers and employees in the elementary education sector; andPromoting the right to elementary education by providing adequate the financial budget to develop the elementary education sector, including building and equipping schools with all the necessary requirements.
Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites