Educational Attitudes and Trends in Palestine

Educational Studies 25 (2):217-243 (1999)
This paper reports the findings of a study of 7000 Palestinian ninth-grade students living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Information is presented concerning educational aspirations, school performance and suggestions for strengthening the Palestinian school system. The impact of the intifada, the popular uprising which resulted in the Oslo Agreement, on the students' performance is also ascertained. The data were collected in 1994 and 1995 from ninth-grade students attending all 64 United Nations Relief and Works Agency schools in the West Bank. UNRWA schools only offer education up to the ninth grade. In addition, information was collected from a sample of 2000 ninth-grade students attending UNRWA schools in Gaza. Finally, a sample of 2000 ninth-grade students attending schools operated by the Palestinian Authority was also surveyed. We were unable to obtain access to PA schools in the West Bank. The response rate among students in completing the Arabic questionnaire was 95%. Questionnaires were also obtained from over 90% of the students' mothers and fathers. The results demonstrate that Palestinian students have exceptionally high educational aspirations in spite of living under Israeli occupation and in dire poverty. We discovered the students work hard in school and are supported by their parents. Interestingly, intifada participation was not related to school performance as those who were heavily involved in the conflict earned just as good grades as those who did not participate. Sadly, these youth realize that their lofty educational aspirations are not likely to be fulfilled because of their families' poverty and the disruptive influence of the Israeli occupation
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DOI 10.1080/03055699997927
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