Why does the
Palestinian Association for Human Rights (witness) reject the UNRWA decision
against daily teachers?
With the preparation for the new academic
year 2020-2021, which it features are not clear yet. Will it be online education, or through the
direct presence of students, UNRWA issued an internal generalization, after a
series of meetings between the UNRWA administration and the UNRWA Workers Union
in Lebanon, stipulating that no teacher will be appointed as a daily teacher
during the next academic year as long as the education is online.
(Witness) received several
calls and appeals from daily teachers calling it to intervene with UNRWA and
international organizations to cancel this decision.
And based on the professionalism and
objectivity that (witness) has consistently adopted in its human rights work
and to know the position of UNRWA, (witness) made several contacts with
officials in the Education Department, who reported that the Agency had
intended to start the school year on September 7 through online education, for
a month initially, "which is considered a continuation of the previous
academic year. Based on the
number of students for the last academic year, UNRWA does not need those daily
teachers, who’s number is 150 teachers. According to (witness) field follow-up,
those daily teachers teach basic and non-basic subjects.
In response to the decision, the UNRWA
Workers Union in Lebanon issued a statement on 28/8/2020, stating: "It is clear that the UNRWA administration,
and specifically the UNRWA Education Department, has begun implementing a plan
aimed at exploiting the current epidemiological situation in order to reduce
the number of teachers and jobs in the education department, in a new old
scheme. The most prominent of these indicators:
1. Delaying the appointment of school
principals to fill the vacancies' place until the date, noting that the file
was completed for more than four months ago.
2. Delaying the appointment of educational
specialists to fill the vacancies until the date, noting that the file was also
completed a while ago.
3. Didn’t announce to start the registration
in the Siblin Training College until this date after transferring part of the
center to a quarantine center. This suggests that there will be no professional
academic year for the year 2020\2021, and the fate of hundreds of students and
dozens of teachers is unknown
4. Issuing a decision not to appoint any
teacher as a daily teacher during the next academic year, as long as the
education is online, knowing that
thousands of new students have registered in UNRWA schools coming from public
and private schools due to the deteriorating economic situation.
The statement considered, "The
decision of the department not to employ daily teachers means an increase in
the academic burden on the teacher, which we completely reject, and we demand
that it cancel immediately and we call on teachers not to accept any increase
in the academic burden that will be given to them."
In this regard, (witness) asks several
1. Why are the daily teachers dispensed in
these difficult living conditions, which are getting worse day by day?
2. Does those teachers really constitute a
financial burden on UNRWA and it does
not need them? Or is the UNRWA decision is a purely technical decision coming
from field conditions?
3. If there is a financial burden on UNRWA, is
there another option to rationalize spending other than dispensing daily
4. Was the interest of the Palestinian student
evaluated scientifically and accurately before taking this decision?
And after numerous interviews and calls
made by (witness) with educational specialists, and after reviewing several
statements and positions, it seems clearly
that the job vacancies that the daily-teachers occupied last year are still
vacant until the moment, and it has also been found that the bulk of the daily- teachers teach basic
subjects and carry a full program of lessons.
And speaking about the quality of education,
it is clear that such a decision is not in the interest of students. Especially since we are on the verge of an
exceptional academic year that will witness an increasing number of students,
who their destination will be toward UNRWA
schools instead of public and private schools, because of the deteriorating
(Witness) considers this decision a
disaster at all levels, because it carries a direct threat to the future of 150
families. As these teachers depend mainly on this income to secure their daily
needs and the needs of their children and families.
(Witness) recommends UNRWA to cancel this
decision, which is inconsistent with the rights of teachers and does not comply
with the interests of students, especially in light of the difficult economic,
social and health conditions that the country is going through and the extent
of its impact on Palestinian refugees is expanding.
Palestinian Association for human Rights