RAMALLAH, August 23 (JMCC) - East Jerusalem is suffering from a sever shortage of classrooms, and those that exist are not ready for the new year, reports the Jerusalem Post
Israeli city officials announced this week that they will build an additional 42 classrooms in the eastern part of Jerusalem, despite a deficit of some 1,000 classrooms.
Activists and officials say that something must be done to ease the education crisis for Palestinian young people, many of whom are forced to pay high fees to attend private schools in Jerusalem.
Schoolyards [in Silwan] were filled with trash and rubble, some of it due to rocks thrown in clashes between security forces and the neighborhood youth. Leaking pipes, exposed electricity wires, crumbling stairs, rusty fences, and exposed steel rods characterized many of the municipality schools’ courtyards.
Though school begins a week later in Arab schools due to Ramadan, it would be impossible for the city to adequately clean and renovate the eight municipality elementary schools in Silwan, said Haalas.
“We’re just a few days before the beginning of the year and no one is doing anything,” he said.
“The children that learn in these places are the lucky ones, since at least they have a place to learn, because there is not enough space,” said City Councilor Meir Margalit (Meretz), who now holds the east Jerusalem portfolio.
Margalit slammed the poor state of the schools in the eastern part of the city and added that he was putting a lot of pressure on the Education Ministry and the Jerusalem Municipality to properly fund east Jerusalem schools, and if that failed, he would turn to Arab states in the Gulf for additional funding. “We’ll see if [the city] has the courage to deny that funding in public,” he said.