The education program developed by FFP focuses on two geographical areas; namely, Jerusalem and rural Palestine.
In Jerusalem, the formal education system includes four types of schools: (1) endowments (Waqf) put into place by Jordan and currently administered by the Palestinian Ministry of Education, (2) schools associated with the Israeli Ministry of Education, (3) private schools and (4) UNRWA schools.
The education system in Jerusalem suffers from overcrowded classrooms, as well as poor facilities and infrastructure. In addition, it lacks support facilities, such as science laboratories and other basic facilities and equipment.
Many schools in Jerusalem operate in rental apartment buildings and several use libraries and shelters as classrooms to accommodate demand. In short, the education environment in Jerusalem, both for teachers and students, is seriously deficient.
These problems contributed to creating a substantially high dropout rate, especially at the secondary level, where the dropout ratio is about 50 percent.
Further, inadequate teacher training and development programs in Jerusalem entail lack of adequate teaching skills and methods.
Aside from formal education, the lack of adequately developed and equipped technical and vocational training centers in Jerusalem deprive many students from the opportunity to be equipped with the know-how required for today’s skilled labor market.
Formal education in some parts of rural Palestine, including the Jordan Valley, faces many of the problems hindering the education system in Jerusalem. These include over-crowdedness and poor education environment. An additional problem, specific to rural Palestine, is the lack of adequate access for many children to schools.
The problem has to do, in part, with the large number of rural centers. In the West Bank there are over 500 villages and hamlets that are home to over 42 percent of the population. These include 211 villages, in addition to about 68 communities, with less than one thousand inhabitants.
This large, decentralized distribution of the population in a large number of rural communities, combined with the lack of financial resources, meant that many rural communities lacked adequate schools, with students having to walk or commute long distances to reach schools in neighboring villages. As a consequence, many students, especially girls, drop out of schools.
Hence, FFP developed an education program that aims to enhance the quality of education, as well as the environment of schools in Jerusalem and in rural Palestine.
The strategic objective of the FFP education program is to enhance the quality of education in Jerusalem and in rural Palestine.
Specific Objectives of Program
1. Improve the education physical environment in Jerusalem and rural Palestine.
2. Enhance the teaching and learning process in Jerusalem and rural Palestine.
FFP identified two primary strategic interventions for the education program, as follows:
i. Interventions to increase capacity and enhance the environment
The interventions defined by FFP to increase capacity and enhance the physical and education environment, include the following:
1. Build new classrooms: FFP intends to build new classrooms, either by building new schools or expanding existing ones. Over the three year period of this plan, the FFP education program plans to build an additional 200 classrooms in Jerusalem and rural Palestine.
2. Renovate older school facilities: The FFP school renovation plans include provisions for rehabilitation and maintenance of up to 60 school facilities in Jerusalem and rural Palestine during the period from 2014 to 2016.
3. Furnish and equip classrooms: This intervention is intended to better equip schools and classrooms for education, including provisions for furniture and equipment. FFP plans to furnish and equip 250 classrooms in Jerusalem and rural Palestine over a three-year period.
ii. Interventions to develop qualification of teachers in Jerusalem
The interventions identified by FFP to enhance the qualifications of teachers are focused on training in two areas:
1. Training geared towards new developments in education methods.
2. Training geared towards improving capabilities of first- and second-grade teachers in identifying children with difficulty in learning. In addition, it focuses on improving the ability of elementary education teachers in dealing with children with learning difficulties.
Expected Beneficiaries and Cost
The total number of beneficiaries expected from interventions to increase capacity and enhance the environment is estimated at 25,000 students in Jerusalem and rural Palestine at the time of completion of those interventions. This number is only a fraction of the beneficiaries, given the total number of benefiting students over the lifetime of the different interventions. In addition, the total number of beneficiaries expected from developing teacher qualifications is estimated at 150 teachers in Jerusalem.
The estimated three-year cost of the program is $ 21 million. The cost does not include provisions for the purchase of land. It is a prerequisite of FFP intervention that land be provided by the benefiting school or community.