Discrimination in education facilities in East Jerusalem

Severe classroom shortage in East Jerusalem points to structural discrimination, say rights groups

Tuesday, 24 August, 2010 - 17:31
London, UK
ACRI, Ir Amim

Palestinian children in east Jerusalem are suffering from a dire shortage of classrooms and school places.

Israeli human-rights groups Ir Amin and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) released a report on the subject on Tuesday, entitled Failed Grade - The state of the Education System in East Jerusalem.

They accuse Israeli authorities of ‘structural, systematic discrimination’ between predominantly Jewish West Jerusalem and the parts of the city occupied and annexed by Israel since 1967. For, although Palestinian children in East Jerusalem are entitled to free education and educational facilities under Israeli law, there is a shortage of over 1,000 classrooms.

According to the report:

* Less than half of the 83,250 children in East Jerusalem of school-going age, many of whom live in poverty, have access to public education facilities. Over 40,000 are forced to pay high sums of money for places in schools run by religious charities, UNRWA or private companies. About 5,300 cannot afford to study at all, and stay at home.

* The 1400 classrooms that are available to Palestinian pupils are overcrowded and half of them are not up to Ministry of Education standard guidelines, or are unfit for use. Many of the classrooms are located in rented premises or caravans.

* Only 39 classrooms have been built this year, despite promises made in court in recent years to build 644 by 2011.

The authorities claim that Jerusalem is ‘unified,’ but at the same time they continue to ignore their legal commitments to the children of east Jerusalem,” said Ir Amin director Yehudith Oppenheimer.

This article may be reproduced on condition that JNews is cited as its source

Photo from State Comptroller’s Report, 2009

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