The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has said is greatly relieved with the decision of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) to begin the school year on time for nearly half a million Palestinian children across the Middle East.
"For them, education is a passport to dignity, offering an escape from the poverty trap to a life of prosperity and security. We must stand by them and the agency that serves them," UNSG associate spokesperson Vanina Maestracci told reporters on behalf of the UN chief on Wednesday.
"The Secretary-General is greatly relieved that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) will be able to open its school year, safeguarding the education of 500,000 students in United Nations schools across the Middle East," she added.
The Secretary-General has reaffirmed his commitment to working with Member States to place UNRWA on a solid financial footing to avoid a situation in which the Agency is forced to the brink of a decision that would have had tragic human consequences.
UNRWA's Commissioner General Pierre Krenpol announced on Wednesday that students will return to school according to plan in Palestine on 24 August, in Jordan on 1 September, in Lebanon on 7 September and in Syria on 13 September.
UNRWA had recently warned that it may not have been able to ensure the return of half a million Palestinian students to school due to lack of funding and a budget deficit of $101 million.