Education in Palestine: The Last Frontier

PNN/ Bethlehem/

Education in Palestine is a developing program. Among Palestinian youths, there are few who would not consider graduating from high school. To them, it constitutes one of the essential qualities for a bright future.

Palestinians place a strong emphasis and attribute a great deal of value on education. The first 10 years of school are almost compulsory. However, continuous Israeli violations and attacks on Palestine have created obstacles that Palestinians have been constantly working to overcome. Palestinian refugees who were forced to leave their villages continued teaching their children in refugee tents under the harshest of circumstances.

The Palestinian ministry of education started from scratch in 1994 and had to build itself in order to create a viable system of education. From the beginning, education in Palestine has been and will remain a form of resistance, and an effective tool in equipping Palestinian youths for upcoming challenges. It empowers them through self-confidence in the face of continuous oppression and injustice. It is also a vital element in maintaining and empowering the Palestinian narrative.

In this context, the European Union’s funding for education in Palestine is looked at as a much needed and much appreciated form of support. In 2016, EU funding through the European Neighborhood Instrument (ENI) was  € 291.1 million. However, the Palestinian public opinion is divided regarding such programs. Many see them as a rich experience allowing students to learn and expand their horizons, while others consider them ways of enshrining Palestine’s dependency on international funding.

One such program, funded by the EU is Erasmus, a program to support education, training, youth and sports. Erasmus gives the students the opportunity to travel in an exchange program to another country for 3 to 12 months. According to National Erasmus Office in Palestine, Since 2015 they had 1382 Erasmus International Credit mobility (ICM) exchanges. Outgoing to Europe are 1017 Palestinian staff and student ,Incoming to Palestine are 365 EU staff and students. In addition, most of the Erasmus ICM students had a greater chance in gaining employment than their counterparts who did not take part.



As a developing country with limited government resources to spend on education, Palestine is a beneficiary of funding from various donor countries and international bodies. To Palestinians, the community of donors remains an essential partner, whether by establishing schools, providing education tools and equipment, and offering scholarships and exchange programs, to enhance the rebuilding of Palestinian lives and contribute indirectly in the process of state building if and when the time comes for an independent Palestine.



Below is a chart showing statistics about Erasmus Statistics on the Mobility Strand between 2015-2016:

Statistics on the Mobility Strand 2015-2016 Palestine Applications Selected Projects Success Rate Grant Awarded (EUR) Participants Awarded Participants outgoing (to EU) Participants incoming (from EU)
2015 R1 44 32 73 % 997,000 243 205 38
2015 R2 14 10 71% 264,000 78 65 13
2016 R1 54 44 81% 1,459,00 419 304 115
2016 R2 10 6 60% 332,000 76 55 21
Total 122 92 71% 3052,000 816 629 187



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