Education in Palestine: a Good Case to be Made

By Ghada AlMadbouh
Submitted to Session P4994 (Schooling the Nation: the Politics of Education in Historical Perspective, 2017 Annual Meeting
Pol Science
West Bank;
19th-21st Centuries;
LCD Projector with Audio Patch or Speakers;
Attainment of good education has been a corner stone in the daily narratives of the Palestinians mainly after Nakba of 1948. Education was seen as one of the few assets remained for Palestinians after their land was taken by Isreal. Yet, the level of education in the Palestinian Territories remains, to say the least, below the expectation of the Palestinian people and their educators. What has happened to the Palestinian education sector (school and university levels)? Why, despite the huge emphasis on education, Palestinian education has not lived up to the expectations of its people? What happened to the education process under colonization? This conference paper tries to answer these questions by looking into the settler colonial structure, its “laws”, and daily practices in Palestine. The aim of this research is to uncover the daily securitization of Palestinian education. That is, the process and manifestation of turning education into a mere security matter. It also fills a gap of the research about education under occupation mainly by analyzing the Israeli military orders related to education. In a quick glance into these orders one realizes that they were the only major framework governing “life” in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip especially before the Oslo peace process. The paper applies theoretical works of Giorgio Agamben on the “state of exception” (2005) and on the concept of Homo Sacer (1998), in addition to the work of Fanon (1991) among other post colonial studies (Pappe, 2003, 2007; Khalidi, 2004, 2006; Sultana, 2006 etc). The Research focuses on three major themes when it comes to education and how Israel jeopardized them: Place (almakan), human capital, and strategizing. It illustrates that even after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority and the taking of “education” into Palestinian hands for the first time, education still constitutes a field of struggle against occupation (see work of Hooks 1994; Freire 2000). This is a co-authored paper. In-depth interviews will be conducted with some educators, professors, officials, etc. When studying the Israeli military orders discourse analysis will be applied. In addition, we will review secondary literature about education and collect primary resources from libraries of local schools and universities. Needles to say a major source of analysis for will be from the writers’ experience as university professors. P.S, in the selection about area at your website there is no choice of West bank and Gaza Strip as one area.