Education Report 2016: Between the Hammer and the Anvil

This year’s annual survey presents new data on the growing shortage of classrooms and dropout rates in East Jerusalem, exposing the surge in unofficial schools filling the vacuum of municipal facilities and mounting pressure on Palestinians to adopt the Israeli curriculum.
This is the first annual education report since the 2011 High Court ruling establishing that the staggering shortage of classrooms in East Jerusalem in the official educational system constitutes a violation of the constitutional right to education for the students of East Jerusalem.  The Court ruling mandated the Jerusalem Municipality and the Ministry of Education to ensure that within five years (by February 2016) all students in East Jerusalem who elect to study in the official system would be able to fulfill that expectation. The Court also ruled that in order to realize the Compulsory Education Law, the state must underwrite the tuition of any student who is unable to secure a spot in the official education system and who is consequently forced to enroll in one of the recognized but unofficial schools operating in East Jerusalem.
Five years after the High Court ruling:
  • The shortage of classrooms in East Jerusalem – which now stands at 2,672 – has actually only worsened.  
  • A total of 23,500 Palestinian children in East Jerusalem are not registered at a known educational institution; and this year, for the first time, the number of students in unofficial classrooms in East Jerusalem exceeded the number of those in official institutions.
  • East Jerusalem has the highest dropout rates in Israel.  Every year, more than 1,300 students drop out of the education system in East Jerusalem.