Back to School & Beginning of Core Program
This week, the markets in Palestine looked like many stores around the world: full of children and parents picking up a few new supplies for the upcoming school year. In Palestine, most kids headed back to the classrooms on August 24th- and some will start on September 1st. But while the shops buzz with the back-to-school season, there’s still circumstances that set Palestine’s children behind in education.
Recent reports have indicated that schools in the Nablus area have already faced several challenges as the school year starts again. Ongoing issues with teacher’s salaries have caused the continuation of a strike, which leads to teacher shortages, leaving many classrooms without proper instructors. Because of this, some children from the villages surrounding Nablus have been reassigned to attend school in other areas outside their neighborhood that are more equipped. Further, many schools still experience severe overcrowding, which causes a lack of proper supervision and individual attention. These disruptions not only interfere with a child’s first week of education this year- but can also contribute to their disengagement from the classroom, and create an unstable environment for their academic futures.
But while these challenges pose risks to Palestine’s pupils, TYO’s Core Child Program also begins a new session this week- which offers an outlet of hope, security, and educational enrichment for young ones in Nablus. Whether it’s an art activity focusing on identity or a computer lesson that facilitates communication skills, TYO's Core Program will provide twelve weeks of non-formal education and learning through play, covering topics like community, self-respect, and confidence-buildling. Later this month, The Women's Group will also begin it's fall session, providing a safe space for moms to discuss critical issues in their children's lives like education, like violence in schools, identifying signs of bullying, and the importance of a good night's sleep. These short-term interventions help reduce the risks Palestinian children might face in school- and strengthen kids' abilities for achievement this year.
So as the year begins, we encourage children and parents alike to fill this month with more than just new pencils and paper- but rather, eagerness to learn and commitment to education. And as we prepare for Core Program's start, stay tuned next week for more updates!
Suhad Jabi Masri is TYO's Psychosocial Program Coordinator. Above, she shares some of the challenges facing Palestine's school system- and sends best wishes for this academic year!