UNRWA Spokesman Adnan Abu-Hasna said on Wednesday that the international organisation would build 60 new schools in the Palestinian territories, including 40 in the Gaza Strip, Anadolu agency reported.
In a statement, Abu-Hasna said that there are currently 251,000 students in 257 UNRWA-run schools in Gaza, and that there is a pressing need for new schools to be built in order to solve the problem of class overcrowding in the Strip.
Abu-Hasna called on UNRWA teachers and the parents of UNRWA students to suspend their protests and to let the school year to start as his organisation is to meet all of their demands.
UNRWA teachers have been on strike for four days since the beginning of the new school year, protesting the increasing number of students in classes and the unpaid exceptional holidays to be given to UNRWA employees.
“The demands are legitimate,” Abu-Hasna said, “but the number of students is not 50 in each class. The problem is that we have added two or three new students to each class because of the increasing number of students.”
However, the parents said that the number of students was increased from 38 to 50 students in each class.
Abu-Hasna said that the demands are procedural and that some have already been solved while others are to be solved through discussions.
“But you must understand that depriving thousands of students of schools is not accepted,” he said, stressing the right of teachers and parents to continue their protest and strive to have their demands met.
He also said that the unpaid holiday decision has been cancelled; stressing that the UNRWA has begun looking for new funding sources in order to avoid a repeat of the crisis that took place earlier this year.
“We overcame the crisis, but we still have deficit estimated by $130m for 2016,” he said. The organisation received $78.9m funds from donors last week.