NAt a time when Palestine is facing unprecedented levels of violent conflict and mass displacement, this Wednesday’s celebration of International Education Day – under the theme ‘learning for lasting peace’ – resonates more deeply than ever, highlights the United Nations Palestine Refugee Agency (UNRWA).
“Although education is a prerequisite for peace, the hostilities raging in Palestine have prevented access to education for students, as well as their teachers”, highlights the entity in a statement published on its official website.
UNRWA considers it urgent to get this message across, given that, since the start of hostilities on October 7, “more than 625,000 students and 22,564 teachers have been deprived of education and a safe place for more than three months”.
Furthermore, more than 25 thousand people, including students and school staff, may have been killed following the daily attacks in Gaza.
“Children and young people, as well as educators, have lost the anchor that is education”, highlighted the note.
“The longer they are out of school, the more difficult it will be to catch up, with lasting consequences”, laments UNRWA, adding that “all UNRWA schools are closed in the Gaza Strip”, having been “transformed into shelters” that welcome “more than 1.2 million people displaced”.
There is also the case that several institutions were “damaged or destroyed” following the bombings, including higher education institutions, making up a total of 75% of all school buildings in the Gaza Strip.
“Attacks against educational establishments and UN facilities violate international humanitarian law”, says the UN agency, which highlights that “education is a fundamental human right and a lifeline for the millions of children and young people affected by war ” and, therefore, should be “maintained even during this crisis”.
It should be remembered that the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza broke out on October 7, after an attack by the Islamic group that left 1,200 dead in Israeli territory.
Since then, the Israeli offensive on the coastal enclave has left almost 25,500 dead, and another 8,000 people are believed to have died under the rubble of destroyed buildings, amid widespread devastation and a humanitarian crisis.
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