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Five Arab schools in east Jerusalem switch to Israeli curriculum

30/08/2013

Five Arab schools in east Jerusalem have decided to switch from the Palestinian to the Israeli curriculum, enraging both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

Jerusalem’s city council said the schools had made the switch so that their students could study for the Israeli bagrut (matriculation exam) alongside the tawjihi (the Palestinian matriculation exam).

Samir Jibril, head of education in Jerusalem at the Palestinian Ministry of Endowments, which funds a number of schools in Arab east Jerusalem, called on parents to be “vigilant” following the decision of five primary schools to introduce the Israeli curriculum into their classrooms. And some Palestinian teachers were said to have expressed concern over the use of biblical names in maps of Israel, history chapters about the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, and references to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in the Israeli textbooks.

According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, some 28 percent of Israel’s students are educated in the Arab, Bedouin and Druze public school systems, and use textbooks published by Israel’s Education Ministry in Arabic. In east Jerusalem, however, the situation is different. Up until 1967, schools in the West Bank and east Jerusalem used the Jordanian school curriculum. Israel’s best efforts to impose its own curriculum after it captured the territories in the Six Day War failed due to widespread objection from parents, who began sending their children to private schools.

Following the Oslo peace accords in 1993, all official schools in east Jerusalem (with the exception of one) switched to the Palestinian Authority curriculum, according to a 2010 Knesset report.

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