The Palestinian Authority introduced fundamental curricula reforms in 2017, which resulted in new textbooks being produced for all subjects for the 2017/2018 academic year. A total of 160 textbooks and curricula for all school levels and for subjects in general education schools were analysed as part of this year-long project, which was funded by the EU. The research project examined content in Palestinian textbooks addressing hate or violence, the promotion of peace and religious coexistence as well as elements addressing reconciliation, tolerance and the observation of human rights.
The EU issued the following statement:
The EU is financing a study of Palestinian textbooks against defined benchmarks (based on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation standards on peace, tolerance and non-violence in education). The study does not look at Israeli textbooks. The methodology of the study will include a separate section on a very limited sample of textbooks used in East Jerusalem and modified by Israel for the purpose of comparison. The section on modified textbooks will clearly put the material analysed within its specific context.
The study intends to provide a comprehensive and objective analysis of current textbooks vis-a-vis international quality of education standards. It is being carried out by an independent and internationally recognised research institute, the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research (GEI). The work of GEI is being carried out according to best international standards, with native Arab speaking experts being part of the research team.
The study was launched in September 2019 and is to be concluded by the end of 2020. In July, an Interim Report was submitted to the EU for approval. Interim reports are working tools intended for monitoring purposes and do not contain robust conclusions. They provide partial information and non-conclusive assessments. Publication is therefore not foreseen.
The purpose of the Interim Report is to inform partners about the current status of progress and to refine the proposed methodology that was applied to a limited sample of textbooks, namely 85 textbooks of the PA curriculum for general education grades 8-10.
Taking these limitations into account, it is too early to draw conclusions.
The findings have to be still validated in the Final Report, which will be finalized by the end of the year, based on a representative sample of 160-180 textbooks. The EU will present the findings of the study to stakeholders and the European Parliament and will inform the latter of the outcome of its bilateral dialogue with the Palestinian Authority.
Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
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