Universities in Palestine


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About universities in Palestine

Palestine, also known as the Palestinian territories or simply the State of Palestine, comprises the disputed West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which are politically under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian National Authority and the Hamas Government in Gaza.  Following the region’s declaration of independence in 1988, the Palestinian territories have been recognized by nearly seventy-five percent of the world’s countries, although this declaration was not recognized by the United Nations, Israel and many western states, including the United States and United Kingdom.  According to statistical data, Palestine has an estimated population of nearly 4 million, and although the country has no official capital (leadership in Palestine has claimed East Jerusalem as the capital, although this is not widely recognized), it does have a pair of “administrative centers”:  Ramallah on the West Bank and Gaza on the Gaza Strip.  There are three official languages in the country:  Arabic, which is spoken as a first language by the majority of the people, and also Hebrew and English, the latter of which is widely taught as a second language in Palestinian schools.
 
Higher Education in Palestine
 
Higher education in Palestine is overseen by the national government, which is responsible for creating educational policy and developing curriculum.  The system of higher or tertiary education in Palestine has grown rapidly in the past decade in both Gaza and the West Bank.  It now consists of 10 comprehensive universities, 13 university colleges, 19 community colleges and 1 distance education university.  Most of these universities were established and developed after 1967, the year in which Israel’s occupation of the region began.  A good number of the colleges and universities in Palestine ate non-profit institutions which utilize a combination of student fees, fundraising and funding from the Palestine National Authority to pay for the operating costs and salaries at their respective schools.
 
Last year nearly 140,000 students were enrolled in higher education in Palestine, of which 76,000 or 55% attended a university.  The distance education university had an estimated enrollment of 46,000 students (34%), while the university colleges and community colleges enrolled 6,000 (4%) and 9,000 (7%) respectively.  Males at the universities, university colleges and the open or distance institution slightly outnumber female students, while females have the enrollment edge in the country’s community colleges.
 
The credit and degree structure at Palestinian universities and colleges is very similar to that of the western world.  Students have the opportunity to earn undergraduate (Bachelor) and graduate degrees (Master’s) in a variety of academic and professional fields, with programs that span approximately four and two years respectively.  The most popular academic pathways for Palestinian students include subjects such as social science, education, humanities and the arts, while programs in mathematics, science and engineering tend to draw fewer students.
 
The demand for tertiary education has risen exponentially in the last 15 years, with students enrolled in higher education more than tripling since 1995.  This presents a challenge to a Palestinian National Authority that is currently struggling with finances.  To make matters worse, many academics have stressed that the Palestinian Authority needs to create a system that not only meets the demand from a growing population of secondary school graduates, but one that also maintains educational quality and relevance to meet the goals of an ever-changing global society.  To help accomplish these goals, the government has recently raised the cost of higher education for students and today student fees represent approximately 60 percent of the universities’ total operating costs.

List of universities in Palestine

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Contact: Hebron University

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Public Relations Department, PO Box 40, Hebron, Palestine
Hebron University was created in the year 1971 as an educational institution providing higher education with a premier faculty of Sharia. The school located in the city of Hebron, provides education with the aim of praising the name of Allah and producing top quality graduates to serve God and... See full description.