In East Jerusalem, Palestinians encountered other difficulties with the education system. The PA's El-Alami said a central problem was the lack of a clear governing body for schools in East Jerusalem.
Israel does not allow the PA to function in Jerusalem and has been accused by rights groups of discriminating against the Palestinian population there (who received residency when the Israelis annexed the eastern part of the city some years after the 1967 occupation).
According to the Alternative Information Centre, an Israeli-Palestinian NGO, the dropout rate among boys in East Jerusalem high schools can reach 50 percent, and the quality of education is so low that some Palestinian students reach the ninth grade without knowing how to read or write.
El-Alami said the movement restrictions meant good teachers from the West Bank could not travel to East Jerusalem, creating a shortage in the Holy City.
Gidi Schmerling, a spokesman for Jerusalem Municipality, said large-scale improvements were being made to East Jerusalem schools.
"In recent years, Israel and the municipality invested tens of millions to make the East Jerusalem education system an advanced and leading one," he told IRIN, adding, as an example, that most funds for new buildings were allocated to the eastern section of the city.
Israel also says the movement restrictions help protect its civilians and soldiers in the West Bank and inside the country proper.
Meanwhile in a related development, the European Union on 20 August gave 40 million euros to the PA for budget support, beyond the promises it made at last year's Paris donor conference where donors had pledged some US$7.7 billion.
However, PA officials said some Arab donors had not followed through on pledges, leaving the caretaker government of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad cash-strapped. The new donation will, among other things, allow the PA to pay salaries, including to teachers.
In recent months the government has had trouble paying salaries on time - something that has undermined the internationally-backed regime.
... Payvand News - 08/26/08 ... --