Arab students 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Six percent of all primary and high schoolaged children in east Jerusalem do not
go to school, according to a study released on Tuesday by Ir Amim, an
organization seeking to improve the conditions of the Palestinian population in
Israel, and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.
attributed much of the high drop-out rate to a lack of classrooms. East
Jerusalem is lacking 1,000 classrooms, but only 39 were built in 2009-2010, the
The shortage has also caused many students to enroll in
private schools, including those belonging to the Wakf Islamic trust, private
schools run for profit, and schools run by UNWRA and churches.
the report did not mention this, many east Jerusalem parents have been sending
their children to private schools of their own volition for decades.
Nevertheless, it warned that the Palestinian population in east Jerusalem “is
becoming poorer, less educated and subject to ever-rising levels of violence and
delinquency. The catastrophic condition of the education system has a very
significant impact on those negative processes, especially among the
The report attributed the decline to government policies and
internal developments within the Palestinian community.
In 2001, in
response to petitions protesting the lack of classrooms in east Jerusalem, the
heads of the Education Ministry and the Jerusalem Municipality promised to build
644 classrooms by 2011. So far, only 257 have been built, and 81 more are in the
offing, for a total of 338.
In addition to the 644 classrooms, another
365 are being planned. By the time they are finished, however, “there will still
be a shortage of another 1,000 classrooms because the expected construction will
address only the rate of the population’s natural growth,” the report
It also said that the vast majority of children studying in east
Jerusalem schools “suffer from poor conditions and defects; dilapidated and
unsafe buildings, crowded classrooms, a low academic level... and low
achievement in matriculation exams.”
In response to the report, the
municipal spokesman’s office wrote that the city had already built 200 new
classrooms and was “advancing” the construction of 248 more.
pointed out that the city was paying NIS 13.6 million to rent classrooms in east
Jerusalem, compared with NIS 1.6m. in the western part of the capital; NIS
for transportation in east Jerusalem, compared with NIS 1.4 in west
Jerusalem; and NIS 2m. for printing schoolbooks for east Jerusalem students, a
service it does not provide in the western part of the city.
municipality said that 170 classrooms, 16 kindergartens, a community
a gymnasium were all in advanced planning stages, but added that it was
difficult to plan new schools in east Jerusalem because no land was
The Ministry of Education said the main problem was the
shortage of land in east Jerusalem. However, it added that in 2007 and
had given the municipality NIS 29m. to buy 13 plots of land for
The municipality had so far only provided land ownership
documents for three of the 13 schools, the ministry said.