Education emerges from and shapes historical narrative, which in turn forms collective memory and identity during particularly impressionable and formative years. In East Jerusalem, education has therefore been a battleground since Israel occupied this side of the city in 1967. 

The Story in Numbers

143,221

Number of Palestinian children of compulsory school age (3–18) in Jerusalem (2022). Of these 73,942 are boys; 69,279 are girls. [1]

40,963

Number of Palestinian school-aged children in Jerusalem who are “invisible” (i.e. not registered in any known school in the city). This equates to 28.6 percent of Palestinian children of compulsory school age in the city. Of these, 20,076 are boys and 20,887 are girls (2022). [2]

12,097

Number of Palestinian children aged 3–6 in Jerusalem who are “invisible” (i.e. not registered in any known school in the city). This equates to 29.6 percent of all “invisible” children (2021–22). [3]

3,517

Number of additional classrooms needed to serve all Palestinian children of school age in Jerusalem, including “invisible” children (2022) [4]

2,682

Number of Palestinian children who dropped out of school in East Jerusalem in 2021–22 from grades 1–11. Of these, 1,657 were boys; 1,025 were girls. [5]

4

Number of supervising bodies that oversee different types of schools in the city and work at cross purposes or in open conflict with one another [6]

12.9

Percentage of Palestinian students studying for Israeli matriculation (Bagrut, using the Israeli curriculum) out of the total number of Palestinian school-aged children in East Jerusalem [7]

43

Number of girls per classroom in one Awqaf school in Jerusalem, a room that was originally designed to be a private living room in an apartment. (Each bedroom was allocated 28 girls in this case.) [8]

0.5–0.9

Square meters of space designated for each child in Jerusalem’s Awqaf and UNRWA schools, where space is extremely limited. The minimum amount of space that should be allocated per child in a normal classroom is 4.55 square meters (5.94 square meters for larger students). [9]

Notes

A general note: Data about schools in East Jerusalem is politicized and unreliable, because the fragmented education system has no single supervisory body responsible for centralizing data. Also, the system only counts children who are registered in the Population Registry, but for reasons unique to the Jerusalem context, many thousands likely remain unregistered, outside of the known data. Therefore, all data are likely only estimations at best. 

[1] Per the Jerusalem municipality’s response to a Freedom of Information request submitted by the Israeli NGO Ir Amim, July 26, 2022. Ir Amim, “The State of Education in East Jerusalem 2021–2022: Annual Education Report: September 2022” (Jerusalem: Ir Amim, September 2022), 6.

[2] Per the Jerusalem municipality’s response to a Freedom of Information request submitted by the Israeli NGO Ir Amim, July 26, 2022. Ir Amim, “The State of Education in East Jerusalem 2021–2022,” 6.

[3] Ir Amim, “The State of Education in East Jerusalem 2021–2022,” 7n4.

[4] Ir Amim, “The State of Education in East Jerusalem 2021–2022,” 4.

[5] Ir Amim, “The State of Education in East Jerusalem 2021–2022,” 4.

[6] Rawan Ahmad Farid Nuseibeh, “Educational Exclusion under an Ethnocratic State: The Case of East Jerusalem,” PhD diss., Durham University, 2013, 77.

[7] Ir Amim, “The State of Education in East Jerusalem 2021–2022,” 4.

[8] Nuseibeh, “Educational Exclusion,” 126.

[9] Nuseibeh, “Educational Exclusion,” 125.

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