Education Report 2014: Shortage of Classrooms in East Jerusalem


Since 2001, following petitions filed by hundreds of parents and a number of NGOs including Ir Amim, there have been active judicial proceedings concerning the grave shortage of classrooms for Palestinian children in East Jerusalem. Over the course of the past decade, Ir Amim has maintained consistent monitoring to assess the progress of classroom construction in East Jerusalem. Until 2011, monitoring has been conducted in parallel to petitions filed by Ir Amim; since the High Court of Justice ruling in February 2011 (HCJ 5317/08; HCJ 3843,5185/01) the organization has issued annual education reports.
In February 2011 the Supreme Court accepted a petition by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), ruling that the tremendous shortage of classrooms in the official school system in East Jerusalem constitutes a violation of the constitutional right to education for the children of East Jerusalem. The Court demanded that the Jerusalem Municipality and the Ministry of Education establish the necessary infrastructure within five years, by 2016, to absorb all East Jerusalem children whose families elect to enroll them in the official school system. 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 place in the official education system and who is consequently forced to enroll in one of the recognized but unofficial schools operating in East Jerusalem. The term “recognized but unofficial’ refers to those schools that are licensed and funded by the Ministry of Education but are privately operated and charge tuition.[1]
In previous reports, written together with ACRI, Ir Amim presented current data on classroom construction and other evidence of deep discrimination against East Jerusalem students, including figures on dramatically increasing dropout rates, the shortage of professional staffing positions (guidance counselors, more