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The spread of computers is still limited in Palestine, which reflects high illiteracy rates in this field in the Palestinian society. There is a feeling at the official level that there is not enough use of computers as it has been expressed by "the press conference on the national Initiative to Increase the use of computers in the Palestinian society" (September 20, 1999). During the conference, the Director of the Central Body of Census called for the following: to increase the spread of computers in rural areas, to oblige all Kindergartens to use the computer as a tool of entertainment and teaching, to develop a series of relevant methodological activities and to provide each school with a computer laboratory by the year 2000. He called upon a national initiative to empower 20% of Palestinian households to acquire a computer and to eliminate the illiteracy of 33% of students in terms of using the computer and its applications. He also called upon the creation of the National Network for Education through the use of computers and scientific exchange, and to link all the schools within the suggested network; in addition, he said that some of the private sector professions should acquire computer skills, to give the opportunity to 10% of households to have access to Internet by the year 2005. This invitation in itself expresses the concern about this unchanging situation while the gap is still getting deeper between Palestinian society and the permanently industrializing societies.

2-3 Pupils

The ratio of Pupils enrolment increased greatly at the beginning of 1994. This quantitative development shows the sustainable growth in the enrolment ratio of pupils in basic school-age, since the provision of education for new generations of pupils (natural increase and the return of thousands of Palestinians from the diaspora with the creation of the National Palestinian Authority)

  1. Absorption of students
  2. The public sector comprises 79,4% of the total students of the West Bank: 50,1% of the total students of the Gaza strip; the Agency has capacity for a highest number of the Gaza strip students than in the West Bank because the density of refugees in the Gaza strip is higher than in the West Bank.

    The Agency’s schools in the West Bank have capacity for 10,7%, and in Gaza strip for 48,6% of the total students. The civil sector in the West Bank has capacity for 9,9%, while its share doesn’t exceed 1,3% of the overall students in the West Bank. The following table shows the increasing number of students according to the monitoring authority.

    Table (54)

    Increasing number of students in general education according to the monitoring authority for various years

    Region

    Percentage

    Monitoring

    1993/94

    1998/99

    West bank

    79.4

    Government

    286,312

    385,544

    10.7

    Agency

    42,789

    51,774

    9.9

    Civil

    32,455

    48,172

    100

    Total

    361,556

    485,490

    Gaza strip

    50.1

    Government

    103,911

    163,860

    48.6

    Agency

    109,393

    158,985

    1.3

    Civil

    2,093

    4,387

    100

    Total

    215,397

    327,232

    Total

    67.6

    Government

    390,223

    549,404

    25.9

    Agency

    152,182

    210,759

    6.5

    Civil

    34,548

    52,559

    100

    Total

    576,953

    812,722

    Source: Educational census book– different issues.

    N.B: These data do not include students in Israeli schools and municipalities in occupied Jerusalem

    The table shows that the number of students increased by 40,9% from 1993/1994 to 1998/1999 i.e an annual growth of 6,8% in all Palestinian schools. The average growth in public schools reached 7,1% per year and in the Agency’s schools 6,7% per year.

    The Ministry encouraged the civil sector to contribute to the educational process. As a result, the average annual growth in this sector reached 8,8%

  3. Levels of students overcrowdedness in class sections.
  4. The trend of overcrowdedness levels in the 2nd cycle went down in the years after the coming back of the Ministry. The following table shows the change in the overcrowdedness levels in the classrooms between 1994/1995 – 1998/1999.

    Table (55)

    Overcrowdedness levels of students in class sections according to the monitoring authority and to the region for several years

    Year

    West bank

    Gaza strip

    Total

    Gvt

    Agency

    Civil

    Gvt

    Agency

    Civil

    Gvt

    Agency

    Civil

    Total

    95/1994

    36.4

    36.3

    25.8

    42.7

    47.1

    39.2

    38.0

    43.6

    26.6

    38.2

    99/1998

    32.9

    38.3

    25.2

    41.9

    49.6

    26.1

    35.1

    46.3

    25.3

    36.5

    Source: Educational census book– different issues.

    N.B: The data do not include students in Israeli public schools and municipalities in occupied Jerusalem.

    General levels of overcrowdedness decreased from 38,2 students/section in 1994/95 to 36,5 students/section in 1998/1999. Levels of overcrowdedness in public schools decreased in the West Bank from 36,4 to 32,9 students/section, and in the Gaza strip from 42,7 to 41,9 students/section in 1998/1999. If we consider the 65 million $ that have been spent on public schools buildings as a basis, it appears that it reduced the number of students per section by 3,5 in five years.

    On the other hand, the Agency’s Schools witnessed an increase in overcrowdedness rates in the West Bank. The number increased from 36,3 to 38,3 students/section in the West Bank. The level increased from 47,1 to 49,6 students/section during the same period in Gaza strip. This situation proves that the Agency faces a lot of difficulties in assuming its educational responsibilities towards the refugees for many reasons. Having said so, the civil sector in the West Bank preserved its level, while it decreased in the Gaza strip from 39,2 to 26,1 students/section during the same period.

  5. Students in basic and secondary cycles
  6. The average of students in the basic cycle increased by 40,1% and by 49,3% in the secondary cycle in the West Bank and in Gaza strip.

    Table (56)

    Increasing number of students in both basic and secondary cycles according to the region for several years

    Region

    Cycle

    94/1993

    99/1998

    West bank

    Basic

    334557

    447369

    Secondary

    26999

    38121

    Total

    361556

    485490

    Gaza strip

    Basic

    198497

    299545

    Secondary

    17080

    27687

    Total

    215577

    327232

    West Bank &

    Gaza Strip

    Basic

    533054

    746914

    Secondary

    44079

    65808

    Total

    577133

    812722

    Source: Educational database/ Department of Information and studies – Census service

    N.B: The data do not include students in Israeli public schools and municipalities in occupied Jerusalem

    The average number of students for the basic cycle increased by 7% per year. The number of students in the West Bank increased by 6% and by 8,6% in the Gaza strip. The average in the West Bank is higher due to the increase in natural levels in the first one compared to the increase in the West Bank, to the decrease in drop-out levels in basic education, and to the increasing enrolment levels amongst the school-age group in this cycle.

     

  7. Performance assessment in basic education

"The survey on services in the West Bank and Gaza strip – health and basic education services" shows that about 73% of households think that the provided basic education services are "good" or "very good" (in the West Bank 67%, in Gaza strip 81%). It shows also a difference between the type of schools frequented by students whose parents are not refugees. Whereas half of the refugees students go to the Agency’s schools, the other half frequents public schools. As for non-refugees students, they often go to public schools. The quality of the school, especially the levels of competence among teachers, the availability of appropriate teaching materials and facilities (88%) and financial considerations, play a major role in parents preferences to a school or another. There is a feeling among households in general, that the Agency’s schools were much better in the sixties and seventies, but this has changed because of the political situation.

According to the same survey, guidance services are provided for students in less than half of the schools, and guidance services in public schools are better than those in other schools (one careers adviser for 1835 students). There are parents’ Boards and Teacher’s Boards in 91% of the schools (98% in public schools, 85% in the Agency’s Schools and 60% in other schools). 37% of the public schools, 48% of the Agency’s scand 100% of civil schools participate in specified development programs.

Alike the results related to pre-school education shown by this survey, there are doubts about the accuracy of the results shown by the survey about basic education, the reasons being as mentioned above, the methodology adopted by this survey and the fact that the parents do rarely visit the schools and thus they know very little about the situation there and cannot distinguish between a good or a bad school.

Enrolment rates.

There is no difference in enrolment rates between one region and another in Palestine, since they are almost similar in all the Provinces. In 1997/98, enrolment rates in high grades started to decrease. This rate reached 64,3% in the 10th grade of basic education 61,4% in the West Bank and 69,7% in the Gaza strip. Then in the secondary stage it reached its minimum levels in the 12th grade since it reached 54,3%, with 46,1% in the West Bank and 53,7% in the Gaza Strip.

Female enrolment ratio exceeds male enrolment ratio in all the grades of basic education (1–10) in the West Bank as well as in the Gaza Strip. The average female enrolment ratio exceeds male enrolment in both cycles in the West Bank and in Gaza Strip. Female enrolment ratio is 88,2% and male enrolment ratio is 86,9% (1997/1998). On the other hand, Male enrolment ratio exceeds that of females only in the 2nd grade of secondary education.

3-3 Teaching staff – human resources

  1. Employment of educational personnel and teaching skills of teachers.

The total number of persons participating in the educational and teaching staff is about 25,902 female and male employees from the highest to the lowest employment rank. The number of teachers, administrators, technicians and others reaches 24,382 employees (94,1%), with 19,263 male and female teachers (79%), 12% are administrators, 2% are technicians and the others left are support personnel and superiors distributed in educational and teaching directorates. The number of personnel working in the West Bank is 17,949 male and female employees, i.e 73,6% and the others represent 26,4% working in the Gaza Strip.

The Ministry employed about 6700 teachers in secondary cycle, which increased the number of public school teachers in the West Bank by 49,5% and by 64,6% in the Gaza Strip.

The Ministry gave a special interest to employing university graduates (80%) and the others hold an intermediate school diploma. It gave also opportunities for special cases like political and social cases and for poor and needy households (3% for ex- political prisoners, 2% for social cases, 2% for injured people, thus a total of 12% of the jobs), and the recruitment system does not distinguish between male and female teachers, since there is a need to be met.

For purposes of the assessment, educational personnel in schools has been classified by teachers, administrators, technicians and employees. The teachers are those who instruct pupils during school hours regardless of the number of their activities within and outside the classroom. The administrators undertake an administrative activity; they include head teachers, assistants, secretaries, librarians, accountants, clinical personnel etc…

The head teacher gives regular courses to students sometimes, and he is attributed a teaching or educational position according to the number of hours he teaches from the whole quota and he is classified as half administrator, half teacher if he teaches for half the hours of the quota. The technicians are physicians, nurses, and advisors and others. Support personnel include security personnel, transportation workers etc… and finally the supervisors.

The level of skilled teachers improved a lot especially in public schools. The teaching staff includes now university graduates from all the specialties that have been distributed to all the administrations and to all the school cycles without any discrimination. It’s worth noting that the Ministry aims at improving the skills of all the cadre members, to the bachelor degree, and to encourage those who are less skilled to join universities in order to get a first university degree. The final objective of the Ministry is to get the cadre members to have a bachelor degree from all the specialties and to do away gradually with less skilled people. The Ministry is currently in a traditional period that will finally lead to refusing the applicants who don’t have at least a bachelor degree. In addition, the Ministry wants to reach another objective, which is to impose as a condition for recruitment, a teaching degree in the future. The following table shows the improvement of teachers’ skills in the secondary cycle. 

Table (57)

Teachers distribution according to the monitoring authority and to education skills for various years

 

 

95/1994

99/1998

Government

Baccalaureate & less

324

302

Intermediary diploma

7853

8485

Bachelor degree

4969

10171

High Diploma

310

100

Masters or higher

77

205

Total

 

13533

19263**

 

Baccalaureate & less

263

225

Intermediary diploma

3055

3337

Bachelor degree

1012

1738

High diploma

22

14

Masters or higher

19

38

Total

 

4371

5351

 

Baccalaureate & less

228

213

Intermediary diploma

650

962

Bachelor degree

950

1559

High diploma

53

28

Masters or higher

63

61

Total

 

1944

2829**

Total of teachers

 

19848

27437

Source: Educational census book / different issues

* The increase in recruiting secondary school graduates between 1996 – 1999 is due to the appointment of people with special cases (released prisoners, special social cases etc…)

  1. Differences in totals are due to approximate calculations

The table above shows a decrease in the number of baccalaureate graduates and less in the Palestinian Educational Personnel from 4,1% of total teachers in 1994/1995 to 2,7% in 1998/1999; the decrease in the number of holders of intermediate school diploma from 58,2% to 46,6% for the same period. On the other hand, the number of bachelor’s degree holders and more, increased by 104,7% and their number increased from 37,7% in 1994/95 to 51,5% of the total teachers.

The Ministry employed a limited number of intermediate school diploma holders despite the availability of a sufficient number of Baccalaureate graduates since it wanted to have a capacity for a part of the society’s school graduates. In 1998/1999 they represented 50,8% of the total teachers in public schools, 62,4% in the Agency’s schools and 34,1% in civil schools.

Some teachers are being discharged from some of their courses (six courses) to be able to work in schools’ Libraries and Laboratories.

There are 16 Educational and teaching directorates related to the Ministry, with 13 in the West Bank and 3 in the Gaza Strip. The table (58) shows the number of public educational personnel, regardless of their functions.

Table (58)

Number of public educational and teaching personnel according to the Directorate for 1998/99

Directorate

In schools

Education Directorates & the Ministry

Total

Teachers

Admini-strators

Techni-cians

Emplo-yees

Super-visors

West Bank

14049

2278

362

46

1209

579

18523

Gaza

5214

605

94

31

494

243

6681

West Bank & Gaza

19263

2883

456

77

1703

822

25202

Ministry of Education/

Ramallah

-

-

-

-

-

252

252

Ministry of Education/

Gaza

-

-

-

-

-

97

97

Ministry’s staff

-

-

-

-

-

349

349

Total

19263

1883

456

77

1703

1520

25902

Source: 1) Education database / General Administration for Planning and Education Development – Ministry of Education

2) Education database / General Administration for Administrative Affairs – Ministry of Education

2) Training and capacity building of the educational Personnel

In order to improve the quality of teaching, the Ministry is training the educational personnel in order to rebuild their capacities before introducing new curricula programs in the year 2000. The General Administration for Educational training and capacity building in the Ministry established a comprehensive plan for the training and capacity building of the personnel. The task of stopping deterioration coincided with that of educational training and capacity building. The Administstarted to organize training sessions in all the Palestinian regions; the table (59) presents information about some sessions and some participants.

Table (59)

Training sessions for educational personnel organized from 1/1/1995 to 31/12/1998

Place of the session

No. of sessions

No. of days

No. of hours

No.of participants

Markasi- Palestine

28

162

893

672

Markasi- West Bank

101

622

3118

2225

Markasi- Gaza Strip

28

215

860

574

Total

157

999

4871

3471

Arab States

28

174

1049

86

Asia

5

71

426

38

Europe

23

389

2269

128

North America

2

39

215

4

Outside the country

58

673

3959

256

West Bank

827

6667

23803

20030

Gaza

199

1181

4419

4603

Total

1241

9520

37052

28360

Source: Education Database / General Administration for Educational training and capacity building.

The sessions in which teachers and head teachers from the educational personnel participated tackled various topics. There were 41 topics that covered all the educational, administrative and technical aspects. Many training sessions have been organized for other personnel from general directorates, which are not mentioned in the table, especially in the fields of planning, development, curricula programs, and educational guidance.

The Ministry gave a special interest to the training of schools’ head teachers. Training sessions have been organized for them about issues like administration, communication and interaction, as well as individuals’ management and psychological guidance. The Ministry focused on getting the school to acquire a self-planning capacity. The Ministry focused on skills like the improvement of teaching, as well as the physical environment of the school; in addition to strengthening the relationships between the members of the educational staff, and improving the educational leadership. In other words, the Ministry is seeking to plant the seeds of decentralization within the framework of this plan.

Physics, chemistry and biology teachers come after the schools’ head teachers in these training sessions. Having said so, all teachers of the first grade in complementary education have been trained, and accordingly, complementary education has been introduced in about 200 schools. There was an emphasis on getting the schools to acquire a self-planning capacity. The number of participating schools represented half the Palestinian schools. Then comes the training of class teachers.

Table (60)

The increasing number of teachers in Palestinian schools according to regions for various years

Region

Monitoring authority

1993/94

1998/99

West Bank

Government

9410

14064

Agency

1434

1521

Civil

2056

2612

Total

12900

18197

Gaza Strip

Government

3170

5218

Agency

2986

3832

Civil

162

214

Total

6318

9264

Total

Government

12580

19282*

Agency

4420

5353*

Civil

2218

2826*

Total

19218

27461

Source: 1) Educational census book / different issues

2) Education database in the West Bank and Gaza Strip – a series of reports about the current situation (n"5)

* Differences are due to approximate calculations.

The employment of new teachers didn’t decrease the ratio of Students to one teacher, it remained almost constant because of the overcrowdedness of classrooms due to the increase of new entrants, which had a negative effect on education.

The teachers in basic and secondary schools are distributed as class teachers (from 1st to 4th grade) and basic or secondary cycle teachers or basic and secondary teacher together. Teachers teach in female schools, male schools as well as in mixed schools without any gender discrimination. In spite of this, there is still a need for teachers for 1-4 grades, to help the Ministry implement its plan in putting competent teachers in this educational cycle. The number of teachers in the secondary cycle increased by 42,9% in all schools. The number of teachers in public schools increased by 53,3%, by 27,4% in the civil sector, and by 21,1% in the Agency’s schools for the same period. 79,2% of teachers teach in basic education, 13,9% are in basic and secondary education and the 6,9% left, teach only in the secondary cycle.



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