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Gaza Strip and West Bank

Educational System—overview

The Ministry of Education of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) assumed responsibility for the education of the Palestinian populations of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in October 1994. Because the educational systems in both of these territories had been controlled by a foreign power for hundreds of years, this was the Palestinians first real opportunity to define and control their educational system. According to the PNA, the system was in poor condition in almost every possible way when they assumed control.

There are three supervisory authorities for the schools in the Palestinian territories: the government (PNA), UNRWA, and the private sector. The total number of schools in 1995-1996 was 1,474. Of these, 1,074 were government schools, 253 were UNRWA schools, and 147 were private schools. Total enrollment was 661,610 students, with the government schools enrolling approximately two-thirds of them. This number, however, does not include all Palestinians who are in school. Many families from the West Bank and Gaza Strip send their children elsewhere for at least part of their education. The number of teachers was 24,342, of which approximately 60 percent were in government schools. Finally, there were 17,962 classrooms, yielding an average class size of approximately 37 students.

The educational system in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has five cycles. The first is preprimary (kindergarten) education for four and five year olds, which lasts for two years. It is provided by local or international nongovernment agencies and organizations (NGOs). The second, or basic, cycle consists of 10 years of education for 6 to 15 year olds. The third, or secondary, cycle lasts for 2 years and caters to 16 and 17 year olds. The fourth, or postsecondary, cycle consists of two years in a technical or vocational college. And the fifth, or higher education, cycle consists of four or more years of schooling.

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Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceGaza Strip and West Bank - History Background, Educational System—overview, Primary Secondary Education, Higher Education, Summary