LOCATION AND GENERAL INFORMATION
This project aims to give children in East Jerusalem access to inclusive education and sport. It will support 10 of the 46 public Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem. The biggest problems related to Palestinian education in East Jerusalem are a shortage of classrooms, a lack of playgrounds, restricitions on the movement of both students and teachers, insufficient resources, the use of a Palestinian curriculum and textbooks, a lack of adequately trained teachers with access to Jerusalem, and tensions related to the socio-political situation – exacerbated since October 2015, causing a significant increase in the number of minors arrested (860), with the consequences of social and psychological problems affecting the students’ academic achievements and increasing the already high drop-out rates.
The proposed project will take an inclusive approach, helping schools to:
- identify the challenges and support children with additional educational needs;
- make full use of the resources available within and in relation to the school environment;
- mobilise existing resources in schools and the wider community;
- establish inclusive spaces in schools where curricular and extracurricular activities are promoted; and
- strengthen school staff, involving caregivers and university students in the educational process.
The aim is to enable public basic schools to improve the quality of the learning/teaching process in order to address the individual needs of their students, ensuring participation and equal opportunities. An integral part of that process is the provision of access to extracurricular activities, especially sports-related activities. The project is expected to have long-term benefits in terms of the fight against child labour and poverty, while preserving and developing the children’s cultural identity.
Palestinians living in East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem is home to approximately 300,000 Palestinians, 39% of whom are children. Poverty, incursions, the demolition of houses, tensions within families, increased violence and marginalisation have a strong impact on children’s development and threaten their fundamental rights.
Children have very limited access to playgrounds, public green areas and sport facilities at school, especially in the Old City. This prevents the development of sporting ability and deprives the children of the opportunity to engage in outdoor activities, which would have a positive impact in the context of their challenging lives. It also affects their academic performance and increases the rate of school drop-outs.
The socio-political situation in East Jerusalem helps to further marginalise groups of children who are temporarily unable to attend school – e.g. because they have been arrested. According to the Jerusalem Directorate of Education, no specific services are provided to those children or their families at the moment.
Giving children access to inclusive education
This project focuses on the promotion of children’s education and individual development, seeking to fight child labour and poverty. The project seeks to address the educational needs of the most disadvantaged Palestinian children in East Jerusalem in defence of their fundamental rights. This inclusive model will be implemented by 10 of the 46 public Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem. All parties involved – teachers, university students, staff of the Ministry of Education, parents and other members of the community – will receive specific training with a view to developing an inclusive culture and supportive educational practices.
The UEFA Foundation for Children will cover 7.5% of the project’s costs. That funding will be allocated specifically to sport and other extracurricular activities, which account for around 15% of all activities foreseen under the project.
Expected impact and results
The project is predicted to benefit a total of 2,350 children.
The expected results are as follows:
- A more inclusive culture and more supportive educational practices at the target schools
- Improved access to inclusive educational services, higher levels of school attendance and/or academic performance, and increased participation in structured inclusive sport and extracurricular activities among children aged between 5 and 16 who are living and/or attending school in East Jerusalem
- Increased empowerment, awareness of additional educational needs and how to support the children and participation in inclusive extracurricular activities and workshops/seminars among parents and members of the local community
- Increased networking among Palestininan public schools in East Jerusalem, supporting the exchange of educational practices
- Improved data collection and analysis among the staff of Jerusalem’s Directorate of Education and school staff
- Defence of rights and support for children excluded from the school system for different reasons, including those under house arrest