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date: 25 September 2022

The Palestinian K-12 Education System: History, Structure, Challenges, and Opportunitieslocked

The Palestinian K-12 Education System: History, Structure, Challenges, and Opportunitieslocked

  • Anwar Hussein, Anwar HusseinBirzeit University
  • Shelley WongShelley WongDepartment of Education, George Mason University
  •  and Anita BrightAnita BrightPortland State University

Summary

The Palestinian education system in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) reflects a long and complex history of control by other countries: the colonial British Mandate over historic Palestine (1917–1948); the Jordanian government over the West Bank, including East Jerusalem (1948–1967); the Egyptian government over the Gaza Strip (1948–1967); and the Israeli occupation (1967–1993). This external control has resulted in multiple forms of apartheid, including restrictions on freedom of movement as a means of control over Palestinian lands and people. Beginning in 1967 at the end of the Six-Day War, the Israeli government took control of Palestinian educational systems, controlling the entire educational experience of Palestinian students, including curriculum, construction, and maintenance of schools, and employment of educators. In 1993, after the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority took charge of the Palestinian education system. Although with the development of the first Palestinian curriculum, the Palestinian Authority has made many innovative breakthroughs in education, they are severely restricted by the Israeli occupation. They do not have the right to build or renovate schools (or other buildings) without Israeli building permits. The current apartheid system is a multifaceted economic blockade, with walls, checkpoints, and armed military guards denying Palestinian students and teachers access to a range of essential services, such as education and healthcare. All of these restrictions of movement and encroachments by the Israeli government and military represent violations of the United Nations human rights conventions.

Given its history, the Palestinian educational system faces many challenges, including the marginalized status of the teaching profession, the quality of teacher education programs, implementation of the education strategic plan, and others. Despite the numerous systemic challenges and obstacles under occupation, Palestinian educators continue to demonstrate tremendous tenacity, creativity, innovation, and optimism.

Subjects

  • Education, Change, and Development
  • Educational Systems
  • Educational History

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