Some 1,200,000 students went back to school in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank on Sunday.
Of those, 499,643 students enrolled in the Gaza Strip and 693,165 were in the West Bank.
In a press conference on the first academic day, the Under Secretary of Education in Gaza, Ziad Thabet, said the department is working towards providing everything that is required to ensure the school year runs smoothly in spite of the unity government’s failure in carrying out its duties in the Strip.
Thabit stressed that the ministry continues to suffer from shortages in the annual operational budget and an inability to meet its financial requirements, adding that it relies solely on funds from the school canteens.
“The ministry suffers difficulties in maintaining schools that were bombed during the latest war, due to the occupation’s restrictions on the entry of building materials.”
He called on the international community to step in and pressure the Israeli occupation authorities to end the violations of Palestinians’ right to education and the policies which hinder the educational process. He also called on the unity government to uphold its duties, including the allocation of operational budgets, payment teachers’ salaries, in addition to the maintenance of damaged schools.
He emphasised that the ministry in Gaza continues to do its best to carry out its duties, despite all of these obstacles, with the support of local and international organisations.
Exclusive images by MEMO photographer, Mohammed Asad.