Emergency support to the education system in Gaza
The UNESCO office in Ramallah implemented a programme of education in emergencies in Gaza, funded with US $2.8 million received from Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser Al Missned, First Lady of Qatar and UNESCO Special Envoy for Basic Education and Higher Education, and of $1.4 million received from the Islamic Development Bank. Launched in 2009, it consisted of five projects which provided continued support for higher education institutions and the most vulnerable primary and secondary schools. It was primarily aimed at improving the quality of teaching and learning, and reinforcing the safety of the school environment.
Among the achievements, over 3,200 twelfth grade students benefitted from two months of intensive Tawjihi exam preparation classes, as well as other remedial responses. In higher education institutions, a total of 437 vulnerable students were provided with fee waivers that allowed them to continue their studies while guaranteeing the sustainability of the institutions themselves. Education in Emergencies activities were underpinned by the establishment of an Arabic language community of practice on the INEE Minimum Standards for Education in Emergencies, on which 1,239 educational staff were trained and which provided support for the development of emergency education contingency plans in communities at risk. Furthermore, the “Entitled to Education“ Report was developed with a focus on increasing knowledge of International Human Rights Law to advocate for the right to education.
UNESCO is focusing on ensuring sustainability of its activities on Education in Emergencies while gradually integrating capacity development elements into regular teacher training as part of the wider strategic aim to develop quality teachers. Further support should explore the adaptation of good practices from the Gaza Education in Emergencies programme to the West Bank, and map out strategies to move from an emergency/humanitarian framework to an early recovery/developmental perspective. In this regard, UNESCO’s experience and network in Gaza have been instrumental for the Education Cluster efforts to use the INEE Minimum Standards in the West Bank, generating a positive dynamic with the MoEHE and other partners. Recently, UNESCO supported the co-facilitation of consultative workshops for the conceptualization of the INEE Minimum Standards for Palestine.