The blockade has hurt the educational prospects of students of all ages in Gaza.
Each year, thousands of college-age students are effectively barred from finishing their education because they’re denied permission to leave Gaza to study in the West Bank or elsewhere. Israel denies students permission to leave even when there’s no program in Gaza for their area of study and even if they already received a visa to travel internationally. In rare cases when students are allowed to leave, they often can’t return to visit their families while pursuing their studies, for fear they won’t be permitted to leave again.
The blockade has also deprived students attending Gaza’s public schools. During the 2014 Israeli attacks on Gaza, 252 schools were damaged and seven were destroyed—although educational facilities are protected under international law. As of August 2016, only one of the destroyed schools had been rebuilt. And although the damaged schools were eventually repaired, educational equipment and materials have not all been replaced.
What’s more, Gaza needs to create 200 additional schools to meet the needs of a growing population, but these schools can’t be constructed because of Israel’s restrictions on importing building materials. This shortage of schools has led to severe overcrowding in most Gaza schools. Many now operate with “two shifts”—hosting one school in the morning and another in the afternoon.
- Students and academics are barred from traveling abroad to pursue their education.
- Gaza’s school shortage has forced nearly all public schools to hold two shifts each day, cutting students’ learning time in half.
- Israel has banned the import of basic school supplies into Gaza, including textbooks, pencils, lab equipment, computers, and paper at points throughout the blockade.
- Over 160,000 children in Gaza are estimated to be in need of continuous psychosocial support, which impacts education.