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1Statistical Yearbook of Palestine 2021. No. 22. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. 2State of Palestine, Country Report on Out-of-school Children. UNICEF, July 2018. 3The Higher Education System in Palestine, National Report 2016. RecoNow. 4Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research 2021 Annual Statistical Guide 2020/2021 for Palestinian Higher Education Institutions, Ramallah, Palestine 5Statistical Yearbook of Palestine 2021. No. 22. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.

Palestine… Our Local Context

Palestine boasts an incredibly high literacy rate, which according to recent statistics is 97.5%. This places Palestine above the UNDP Human Development Index category of “high human development” and well above the MENA region average of 80.6% (World Bank Data 2014).

 

The high literacy rate is an indicator of the high level of accessibility to education in Palestine: some 1,338,353 students are enrolled in primary through secondary education across 3,107 schools. In fact, very few school age children are excluded from education (notwithstanding special barriers to access such as disability).

At the university level 203,621 students are enrolled (62% female and 38% male), with another 11,144 enrolled in community colleges. This places total enrolment for youth aged 18-24 at more than 25.8%, which is above the international standard, especially when benchmarked against MENA region countries and developing countries in general. There are a total of 51 higher education institutions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip: 16 universities, 16 university colleges and 17 community colleges.

 

These numbers indicate two things: education is highly valued by Palestinians, and access to education is well established across Palestine. The next challenge therefore extends beyond providing access to education into providing the quality education that reflects the reality of today's world.

Education and Literacy

Our commitment to our beloved country Palestine stems from our belief in our duty and responsibility towards it, our society and our youth. Palestine is an especially fertile ground for creativity and forward thinking, but there is a clear need for cooperation, dialogue and unified efforts between all engaged stakeholders. The population of the State of Palestine stands at 5.23 million, divided among its different geographical areas: 3.12 in the West Bank, 2.11 in Gaza Strip. The Palestinian population is predominantly young, and close to 57.4% of the population under 25.

Labor Market

Despite the high education enrollment rates in Palestine, the work force participation rate remains quite low. Unemployment in Palestine among the active workforce (15 years old or older) is at 40.9%.

 

The numbers become even more alarming when comparing geographical areas, as unemployment in Gaza Strip is at 46.6% compared with 15.7% in the West Bank. Furthermore, there is also a gender gap when it comes to the labor market in Palestine, with female work force participation at 15% in the Gaza Strip and 16.8% in the West Bank.

 

The labor market numbers point to the fact that, among other things, there is a skills gap in the transition from the education track to entry into the workforce.

Number of unemployment in labor market

Civil Society Engagement

In addition to challenges faced by developing countries in achieving sustainable development for all, Palestine presents several endemic challenges due to its particular political situation such as geographical and administrative fragmentation, reduced mobility between cities and between geographical areas, and a weakened infrastructure especially in the Gaza Strip. As a response, Palestinian civil society is highly engaged, and a diverse network of players are working to find effective solutions to bypass these challenges. This network includes local and international NGOs, philanthropists, educational institutions, and other stakeholders.

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