Back to school, in Gaza

Today was the first day back at school for the children of Gaza.

Although 500,000 pupils returned to lessons, at least 500 of their classmates did not join them after they lost their lives in the 50-day war between Hamas and Israel.

More than 250 Palestinian schools and 90 UN education centres were damaged during the conflict, which saw schools turned into shelters as thousands of residents were displaced by the fighting.

In one school in the Shejaiya area of Gaza City a sign was left on an empty desk; bearing the words "Martyr Ghalya Al-Helu, ninth grade".

Pierre Krähenbühl, commissioner general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), said psychological counselling would be offered to children at the 200 or so schools run by the UN.

But he added: "The top priority now is making sure that after a period of psychosocial support, including the use of theatre for development techniques, our students can return to their regular curricula."

According to health officials in Gaza, 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed in the conflict with Israel.

Sixty-seven Israeli soldiers and six civilians also lost their lives. Israeli children have already returned to school after the summer holidays, and have also been offered psychological counselling.

Keep reading...Show less
Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)