The Israeli authorities closed two Palestinian higher education institutes in Hebron during the past week last week. The University of Hebron and the Hebron Polytechnic both had their doors sealed such and the campus and surrounding area closed and searched.
A week ago the Israeli authorities took a decision to close down the two Palestinian higher education institutes, in another example of collective punishment - a move that will affect the education of thousands of students.
Dr. Tahboub Karim Tahboub, head of the engineering department at the Hebron Polytechnic, said, "The university has allegedly been closed for two weeks by the Israeli authorities, but really, we don't know how long they will remain closed - perhaps it will be six months."
The closure of these institutes means that over five thousand students are unable to continue with their education - 3,899 students enrolled at the Hebron University, and 2,533 at the Polytechnic.
However even prior to this latest attack on the two centers, the situation was already quite dire for the students and staff at the two institutes, and for all Palestinian students attempting to get an education, whether it is primary, college or university.
According to Dr. Tahboub Karim Tahboub The Hebron University had already lost one month of teaching due to military imposed curfew and closure, despite a reorganisaiton and lengthening of the semester, and the university premises were invaded by soldiers, and students were regularly attacked and harassed at the military roadblocks.
The situation is the same at Birzeit University, where semesters have been lengthened to complete courses interrupted by long curfews and closure. Student figures have fallen as studying in foreign countries has become the easier than reaching the local universities. Wissam Abbas, the head of registration of Birzeit university, said the number of female students enrolled at the university is higher than male for the first time ever because of the restrictions on Palestinians movement. Furthermore, with the continuing collapse of the Palestinian economy, education has become a luxury that fewer and fewer people can afford.
The Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education* said 214 students under the age of 18 and 383 university and college students have been detained. Furthermore, figures released by the Ministry show that 298 students below the age of eighteen have been killed, and 149 university and college students have been killed.
In attacks on educational facilities, 3 schools have been turned into
military barracks, 269 have been attacked and raided by Israeli troops, 3
universities have been broken into, 9 schools have been totally closed
1,125 schools and nearly all higher education institutions have suffered
suspension of study.
* Provided the following figures. See http://www.mohe.gov.ps/ For more information contact: The Palestine Monitor +972 (0)2 298 5372 or +972 (0)59 387 087 http://www.palestinemonitor.org