The Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE), established in 1994, provides education to more than 1.100.000 students in 2.750 schools in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Due to a lack of schools and a severe classroom shortage in some areas of the Palestinian Territory, many schools in different regions are overpopulated. Over the last years the shortage of school buildings in the West Bank has decreased, though infrastructure needs in East Jerusalem and Gaza remain high. Furthermore, quality still needs attention to adapt the schools to a new way of teaching, technology, and curriculum.
Belgium is active in school construction since 2001 and so far, built 23 new schools in the West Bank including one climate adapted pilot school. The Phase IV schools construction project will build 10 schools and will focus on quality through an environment and child friendly design while experimenting innovative and eco-sustainable solutions. The project will also invest in capacity building for designers and teachers and organize activities for students and communities benefitting from the new schools. Special attention will be paid to interactions between schools and communities, to gender, and to energy efficiency and other environment-related aspects.
An ESS (equivalent student sufferings) software has been developed to identify the areas with the highest needs in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The results were used to make a priority list and accordingly three local design consultants prepared the drawings and tender documents for 7 new schools (including one vocational) in the West Bank and 9 rehabilitations in East Jerusalem. Due to the political situation, no schools in Gaza have been selected yet.
In addition the project will construct 2 schools and 8 kindergarten classrooms in Area C (Israeli controlled area in the West Bank). Finally, to meet the quality objective, a design competition is held for one eco-sustainable secondary girls’ school with multi-purpose sports hall and environment lab. The schools will be built, furnished, and equipped and include specialized rooms & facilities (science and computer lab, library, multi-purpose room, …).
As part of a bridging programme, a 4.5m€ top-up has been brought to the project. This will complement the ongoing activities in East Jerusalem, where schools will be rehabilitated and expanded, one new school will be created and four Fab-Labs created inside the schools, promoting STEAM, 21st century skills and Project-Based Learning.
The direct beneficiaries of this project are more than 7.360 students, who are, or will be enrolled in those schools. The indirect beneficiaries are the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, headmasters, teachers, and the related Palestinian communities.