Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Internal Rift Exacerbates Academic Challenges in Gaza | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Palestinian man looks out of his heavily damaged house at neighboring houses which were destroyed during the Israeli offensive, in the east of Gaza City September 3, 2014. (Reuters)

Gaza – The number of students attending the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip schools declined as the new academic year started due to difficult economic conditions suffered by their guardians. The problems of the education system in the Gaza Strip have been exacerbated by the continued division between Fatah and Hamas, and by the Israeli siege on the coastal strip.

As the internal rift widened, hundreds of teachers consequently refused to work due to fear of having their wages cut as the Palestinian Authority took harsh measures against Hamas ministries and institutions in the Gaza Strip.

“The new teachers have been appointed with low salaries, 50 percent less than the original salary, which affects their living conditions and educational contribution,” media and public relations officer at the Education Ministry in the Gaza Strip Moatasem al-Minawi told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Schools were also targeted directly by the Israel during its three wars in Gaza, especially in the summer of 2014. Five schools were completely destroyed in the east and north of Gaza, and some 182 schools were partially damaged.

On the academic curricula, Minawi said that there is full coordination between Gaza and the West Bank, revealing as well the construction and furnishing of new schools.

“There is coordination, but we hope that differences will end so that the work is improves for us all,” said Minawi.

He added that Israel obstructed many projects to rebuild schools destroyed during wars. It also prevented the delivery of vital cement for reconstruction.

“Students are also affected by the siege that has resulted in deteriorating economic situations for their families, especially since a large number of them live in a poor psychological atmosphere within the classroom, which should instead be well-equipped and comfortable,” said Minawi.

The media official also pointed to efforts his ministry is exerting to increase existing educational proficiency.