End to Gaza Conflict is Imperative for Safe Return to Learning – UNRWA

Thousands of displaced Palestinians are living in UNRWA shelters. (Photo: via KinderUSA)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

“Over 625,000 students and 22,564 teachers have been deprived of education and a safe place for over three months.” – UNRWA

On the International Day of Education, the stark reality in the Gaza Strip is that more than “625,000 students and 22,546 teachers have been deprived of education and a safe place for over three months”, as Israel continues to bombard the enclave. 

“Children and youth, as well as educators, have lost the anchor that is education — all UNRWA schools are closed in the Gaza Strip, depriving the 300,000 children who attended them of their education,” the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The longer they stay out of school, the more difficult it is to catch up, with lasting consequences.”

The relief agency said that as Palestine faces unprecedented levels of violent conflict and mass displacement, observing this International Day of Education under the theme of ‘learning for lasting peace’ resonates more deeply than ever.

“Over 625,000 students and 22,564 teachers have been deprived of education and a safe place for over three months, and thousands of learners and education personnel are amongst the  more than 25,000 people who have reportedly been killed,” UNRWA said.

Most UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip have been turned into shelters, hosting over 1.2 million displaced people.

Communities and support networks have been fractured, and educational infrastructure damaged or destroyed, the UNRWA statement said.

It added that “75% of all school buildings across the Gaza Strip have been impacted, while numerous higher education institutions have also sustained damages.”

Attacks on educational premises and UN premises violate international humanitarian law,” UNRWA stressed.

The educational system has lost 4,551 students and 8,193 others were injured, including more than 4,510 dead and 7,911 wounded in the Gaza Strip, reports the WAFA news agency.

Israel Kills More Than 4,000 Gaza School Students Since October 7 – Reports

West Bank Learners Affected

In the West Bank, a total of 41 students were killed in the West Bank and 282 wounded, in addition to 85 being detained, the report said.

At the same time, 231 teachers and administrators were killed and 756 were injured in the Gaza Strip, and 6 were injured and wounded, while more than 71 were detained in the West Bank.

Schools were turned into shelter centers, while 281 government schools and 65 affiliated with UNRWA were bombed and vandalized in Gaza, which led to 83 of them being severely damaged and seven completely destroyed, WAFA reported.

Meanwhile, 38 schools in the West Bank were stormed and vandalized.

In Gaza, despite the conflict, UNRWA said, the UN and partners from the Education Cluster have been striving to offer much needed recreational activities for children, as well as psychosocial support in shelters.

“Education is a fundamental human right and critical lifeline for the millions of children and young people affected by the war, and it must be sustained even throughout this crisis,” UNRWA said.

“Ending the conflict is imperative to enable Palestinian students and educators to begin to rebuild the foundations for a safe return to learning,” the statement stressed.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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