On 17 October, the UN Deputy Special Coordinator/Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Robert Piper, undertook a visit to a number of educational facilities in H2 to learn about and understand the current conditions and challenges relating to realizing the right to education in this area of Hebron. He was joined by a number of representatives from UN agencies and international donors.
During the visit, the Resident Coordinator and the delegation engaged with staff and school children of the Al-Ibrahimia Primary School for Boys, the Al-Fayhaa Primary School for Girls and the Al-Saraya kindergarten, as well as with parents living in the area to hear about the circumstances affecting their children’s right to education, and on what is needed to enhance their living conditions.
The visit highlighted the multiple protection challenges and difficult learning environment facing children, students and teachers in H2 in the context of increased restrictions. This includes restrictions on access and movement, body and bag searches, and harassment at checkpoints, exposure to teargas during tensions, violence and attacks by soldiers and settlers – all with considerable impact on the right to education and on the psycho-social well-being of children and their families. In addition, the learning environment has suffered tremendously from wear and neglect resulting from severe restrictions on entry of construction materials and equipment through the checkpoints.
The educational facilities visited – Al-Ibrahimia Primary School for Boys, the Al-Fayhaa Primary School for Girls and the Al-Saraya kindergarten – have experienced a significant drop in attendance in recent times, reflecting an ongoing silent displacement of Palestinians from H2. The delegation was informed, for instance, that the number of students in Al-Ibrahimia school has dropped from 460 in 2011 to 220 in 2017.