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After delay, classes begin at UNRWA schools in Gaza

The Gaza Strip's new school year began on Monday at schools run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) after a one-week delay due to a boycott by students' parents.

Last week, the new academic year officially kicked off in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

The parents of students enrolled at schools run by UNRWA, however, had refused to send their children to class, citing acute overcrowding.

"Around 251,000 students went back to 257 schools in the Gaza Strip," the UNRWA Students' Parents Union declared in a statement.

"Studies will be temporary for ten days until the capacity of classes is reduced to the previous quota [38 students per class]," the union added.

UNRWA's Arab employees' union, meanwhile, has said that UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl planned to visit Gaza on September 9 to discuss the agency's recent decisions.

Responsibility for schooling in the blockaded Gaza Strip is divided between the Palestinian Education Ministry and UNRWA.

One aspect of the UN agency's mandate is to provide the children of Palestinian refugees displaced by the Israeli occupation with education.

According to the Education Ministry, some 1.2 million Palestinian students went back to school last week, including 700,000 in the occupied West Bank and 500,000 in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Images by MEMO Photographer Mohammed Asad.

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