UNRWA has sacked 17 teachers from its schools in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, Safa news agency reported yesterday.
According to the human rights group, Shahed, UNRWA claimed that the teachers were surplus to necessity.
Shahed said that UNRWA had increased the number of classes each teacher had to cover in its schools and increased the number of students in them to over 50.
The rights group said that the UNRWA was also forcing teachers to teach subjects which were not their areas of expertise or qualification.
This has meant fewer teachers are needed but that education standards are dropping in the refugee camps.
UNRWA has faced a budget deficit since 2018 when the US State Department said Washington would “no longer commit funding” it.
The US had been UNRWA’s largest contributor by far, providing it with $350 million annually — roughly a quarter of the agency’s overall budget.
This came a month after reports emerged of a secret American report stated that there are only 40,000 Palestinian refugees, noting they are the Palestinians who left their homeland in 1948 and remain alive today and not their descendants.
US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is reported to have tried to pressure Jordan to strip more than two million Palestinians of refugee status in a move that aims to end the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
In December 2019 US Congress leaders agreed to contribute $150 million towards Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem including to support civilian and humanitarian programmes and institutions that lost funding in 2018 as a result of the administration’s cuts.