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World Food Programme (WFP)
United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
7 June 2004
UN Bodies Concerned about Safe Access for 60,000 Palestinian school
students to Exam Sites
JERUSALEM -- Ten United Nations institutions call on the Israeli authorities to ease restrictions on movement in the occupied territory to enable 60,000 Palestinian students to sit for their Tawjihi matriculation final exams beginning today 7th of June.
Almost 60,000 Palestinian children out of the 1.2 million children of school age will sit for Tawjihi high school matriculation exams starting today. In Rafah alone, more than 3,000 school children will take these important and future defining exams.
“Failure to sit for these exams will result in forfeiting the entire school year” Said David S. Bassiouni, UNICEF Special Representative in the West Bank and Gaza. “Students will not be able to study in universities and they will be forced to repeat their studies next year.” he added.
“If these children are denied safe access to their examination sites, their whole future is undermined” Said Anders Fänge Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank.
According to Khaled Abdelshafi, Head of the UNDP in Gaza, “the recent incursions in Rafah have had a detrimental effect on the economy of the area, with substantial damages to infrastructure.” For Abdelshafi “to add this restriction of preventing the school children from writing these exams to the already volatile equation will seriously stifle our efforts to attain human development in the area…It’s like adding insult to injury.”
Regular and safe access to schools has been an ongoing problem for many Palestinian children, the violence and access problems have had implications on the education journey of the Palestinian children. A survey of UN-run schools showed a 16 per cent low-achievement rate, and an 11.5 per cent rate of fear and anxiety among school children.
For further information, please contact:
Monica Awad, UNICEF, Tel: 5830013 Ext. 213, or 057-7-784374;
Ehab Shanti, UNDP, Tel: 052-2269610, Email:
Sami Mshasha’, UNRWA, Tel: 02-5890408 or 050-5-317094;
Costanza Farina, UNESCO, Email:
World Food Program (WFP), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN (FAO), United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian affairs (OCHA), United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Untied Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)