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East Jerusalem Schools: Failing Grade

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Overall, E. Jerusalem's education system is "substandard and overcrowded." Too few teachers and classrooms serve too many students. Thousands get left out because there's no space for them.

One school in A-Thori reflects conditions throughout E. Jerusalem. It's a boy's school. It's in an old residential building. It's substandard. Safety and hygiene conditions aren't addressed.

It was built to accommodate 300 students. Around 500 are crammed in. School density is "unbearable." Some classes are held on balconies.

Everything about this school is improper. It's not a proper learning environment. There's no heat in winter or air conditioning in summer. Too few toilets exist. There's no computer lab or parking for visitors.

Neighborhood residents complained. No one listened. Conditions remain unconducive to learning and in some respects unsafe.

Acute shortages exist for pre-schoolers. Needed kindergarten space is lacking. Many parents wanting their children to attend have nowhere to send them.

Pre-school importance is acknowledged. Lacking it constitutes a serious deficiency.

Instead of schools, Israel prioritizes settlement expansions, Jews-only commercial development, and other construction excluding Arabs. Racism and discrimination are institutionalized. Everyone not Jewish is marginalized. They're also persecuted.

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For Palestinian parents wanting good schools for their children, many are entirely deprived. Thousands have nowhere to go, and no one to turn to for help.

ACRI worked jointly with Ir Amim. It's a progressive NGO. It focuses on Palestinian issues. Together they reported on E. Jerusalem's dire state. ACRI published the report.

Ir Amim's Director of Policy and Advocacy, Oshrat Maimon, said:

"The right to education is more than a budget line or a resource handed down by the Municipality. It is a right that constitutes the very basis of a community and the future of its children." 

"The authorities have deserted the right to education of tens of thousand of students in East Jerusalem, advancing a policy whereby one community is promoted at the expense of another community."

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ACRI's Nisreen Alyan added:

"The Jerusalem Municipality and the Education Ministry must urgently enhance their investment in education in East Jerusalem." 

"The High Court has given them five years to bridge the gap in classrooms and if this is not done, the authorities will be obliged to pay tuition instead of the parents." 

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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