Reports & Researches

Why does the Palestinian Association for Human Rights (witness) reject the UNRWA decision against daily teachers?

Why does the Palestinian Association for Human Rights (witness) reject the UNRWA decision against daily teachers?

(Human rights report)

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."[1]

In this regard, (witness) asks several questions;

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 teachers?

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 economic situation.

(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.


September 2,2020

Palestinian Association for human Rights (witness)


[1]Statement of the Union of UNRWA Workers in Lebanon, the website of the Fatah movement in Lebanon. See the link :