(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Some 200 students attended yesterday the launch of the International Student Conference to discuss the lingering effects of the war in Gaza and the situation there, with a focus on education, a year after the three-week Israeli military campaign staged there.
The two-day conference, called "Post-Cast Lead: Defending the Freedom to Learn" sponsored by the Al Fakhoora Campaign, will focus on the challenges and the right to education in Gaza and the West Bank.
Speakers and delegates of the conference, which is being held at the Doha Marriott Hotel, not only gave an insight into the current situation in Gaza but also showed how the student-participants from here, Palestine, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United Kingdom and the United States can help their peers in Gaza secure the right to quality education.
Ayman Mohyeldin, a correspondent for Al Jazeera Network based in Gaza, said around 280 of the 641 schools in Gaza were damaged and 18 destroyed.
Mohyeldin, who delivered the keynote speech, said in government schools, the attendance and performance of the students have declined as a result of "ageing education infrastructure, overcrowding, and frequent disruptions caused by military operations." According to him, only 20 percent of 16,000 sixth-graders in Gaza passed standardised exams in Math, Science, English and Arabic in the first semester of the 2007-2008 school year.
Mohyeldin said the inability of university and post-graduate students to travel to pursue studies in specialised fields is stifling the intellectual advancement of the youth in Gaza.
By Joyce C Abano