Education for Palestinian Refugees

UNRWA has been the main provider of basic education to Palestinian refugee children since 1950. Basic education is available to all registered refugee children free of charge up to around the age of 15. By 31 December 2009, there were close to 482,000 students enrolled in 691 schools. UNRWA schools follow the curriculum of their host countries. This allows UNRWA pupils to progress to further education or employment holding locally recognised qualifications and fits with the sovereignty requirements of countries hosting refugees.

In the 1960s UNRWA schools became the first in the region to achieve full gender equality. Overcrowded classrooms containing 40 or even 50 pupils are common. Almost all of UNRWA's schools operate on a double shift - where two separate groups of pupils and teachers share the same buildings. Not all refugee children attend UNRWA schools. In Jordan and Syria children have full access to government schools and many attend those because they are close to where they live. UNRWA also operates eight vocational and technical training centres and three teacher training colleges that have places for around 6,200 students.