Education is UNRWA’s largest programme, accounting for more than half of the Agency’s regular budget.
The Agency operates one of the largest school systems in the Middle East, with nearly 700 schools, and has been the main provider of free-of-charge basic education to Palestine refugees for over sixty years.
Our students are among the most highly educated in the region. Since the 1960s, girls have made up around half of UNRWA’s students.
Millennium Development Goals
One of our main aims is to provide refugees with appropriate knowledge and skills through universal primary education. This is in line with our commitment to refugees’ human development and to Millennium Development Goal Two.
We are committed to provide education of a high quality and content in accordance with international standards and good practices, measured by actual learning outcomes for children.
More about school services
Vocational training centres
As well as running schools, UNRWA has developed further educational opportunities. The Agency has ten vocational training centres, such as the Gaza Training Centre and the Damascus Training Centre, which provide skills training in fields including:
- graphic design
- business and computing
- architecture and surveying.
The centres teach market-relevant skills to help Palestine refugee youth find employment after graduation, and reduce high levels of refugee unemployment.
More about vocational training centres
Human rights promotion
One of our key projects promotes non-violent communication skills, conflict resolution, human rights and tolerance. These system-wide efforts have included translations of relevant storybooks into Arabic, production of teacher’s guides and student workbooks, and the involvement of UNRWA pupils in activities during the summer school break.
More about human rights promotion
Read UNRWA's human rights materials
UNRWA offers training and development for thousands of teachers, headteachers and supervisors, through in-service training to develop teachers’ professional qualification and pre-service training for new teachers.
More about teacher training
As UNRWA’s education programme is limited to schooling and vocational training, the Agency encourages students’ progression to higher education through scholarships. Young Palestine refugees who excel academically but would otherwise be unable to afford tertiary education are eligible.
More about scholarships
The education programme has been run with financial and technical support from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) since 1951.
Education at a glance
In 2011/2012, across its five fields of operation, UNRWA’s education programme comprised:
- 699 schools
- 19,217 educational staff
- 486,754 enrolled pupils
- 49.6 percent female pupils
- 10 vocational training centres
- 6,652 training places
- Three educational science faculties
- 891 teachers in training
- 1,700 student teachers
Figures as of 1 January 2012
Education reform strategy
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