The UN office in Palestine has said that over 1.3 million Palestinian children in territories occupied by Israel are facing challenges as a result of the occupation as they head back to school for the new academic year, a press release issued yesterday said.
"Over 1.3 million Palestinian children from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip will go back to school… Children in the West Bank and Gaza face challenges that many children across the world cannot imagine," the press release said.
"Since the beginning of the year, 20 children were killed in the West Bank, compared to 12 during the same period last year," the UN said, adding: "Currently, there are 56 outstanding demolition orders against schools where at least 6,400 children are taught in the West Bank including East Jerusalem."
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The UN said that the UN recorded 115 education-related violations against schools and children in the first half of 2022 in the West Bank. "Nearly 8,000 students have been impacted, increasing the risk they will drop out of school."
In Gaza, the UN said that 17 children lost their lives during the latest Israeli offensive in early July.
"Schools are overcrowded, with 65 per cent of schools operating on double shifts," the press release stated, adding: "The conditions in Gaza for children, including having lived through four escalations in hostilities during their lifetime, increase the need for specialised psychosocial support services."
Despite the many challenges faced, the press release said, the youth literacy rate of Palestinians is over 99 per cent and 93.8 per cent of children who graduate from primary school go on to a secondary education.