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Rapid Assessment of Higher Education Institutions in Gaza


More comprehensive assessment including 28 HEIs and with a focus beyond infrastructure damages (quantitative and qualitative assessment), for instance on disabilities suffered as a result of the war. It will be a first basis for a general HE sector response. It will be integrated in the global DNA done within the partnership among UN, World Bank and PA.


This report has been compiled using primary data collected by UNESCO from HEIs in Gaza. A total of 26 rapid assessment questionnaires were administered, along with interviews with 38 staff members (36 male, 2 female), focus group discussions with 12 staff members (11 male, 1 female), and three semi structured interviews with the Assistant Deputy Minister for Higher Education and university leaders.
Orientation sessions were provided by the UNESCO assessment team to 26 HEIs on the process and methodology of the assessment, including presentation of the data questionnaire. The data collection phase subsequently began with field visits to all 26 HEIs by 2 data collectors (Assessment Co-ordinator and Social Worker). Each data collector visited 13 HEIs, completing questionnaires using Excel data sheets. Qualitative data was also collected through interviews and case studies. Rapid assessments and data from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and UNESCO have also been incorporated where relevant.

Key findings: 

 There was a failure to protect education from attack during the 50 day crisis.
 Staff and students suffered heavy ca A total of 421 HEI students were killed during the conflict and 1,128 were injured.
 Student deaths during the conflict constitute more than a quarter – or 27.4% - of total civilian deaths incurred in Palestine.5 Even considering the exceptionally high ratio of people aged 15 to 29 to the total over-15 population (53%),6 this is a shocking statistic.
 Education and business-related subject specialisms were particularly hard hit by student death and injury.
 Fourteen HEIs were damaged during hostilities, some directly targeted, others suffering collateral damage. Many of these institutions are experiencing severe disruption to academic and administrative operations as a result.
 The total estimated cost of repairs to and replacement of HEI buildings, facilities and equipment is US$ 16,088,597.7
 Damage to infrastructure as well as equipment, facilities and learning materials inevitably reduce access to education and have potentially long-term impacts on the quality of teaching and learning.
 The majority of HEIs are not currently implementing inclusive approaches in building design or appropriate pedagogical or practical support to students with disabilities.
 Emergency planning in HEIs is weak and there is currently no co-ordination between HEIs.
 Psychosocial support for staff and students is inadequate.
 A total of 393 staff lost their homes in the crisis. Students from 23 out of 26 HEIs had their homes destroyed, putting further pressure on already severe housing shortages in Gaza. A total of 7,169 students – or 7.5% of the student population at all HEIs – were affected.
 HEIs were disrupted for a minimum of 20 days over the semester, and a maximum of 62 days. In total, 1,016 individual HEI days were lost over the summer semester, indicating the extent of the interruption to academic study caused by the crisis.
 Staff identified the following priorities: buildings, financing for student fees/grants, emergency response and protection, improvements to quality of teaching and learning, enhanced psychosocial support.sualties during the conflict, sustaining loss of life and serious injuries. A number of injuries have led to disabilities including mobility, hearing and visual impairments which will impact on individuals and their families throughout their lives.
 Nine academic and administrative staff from the HEIs were killed and 21 injured.

Assessment Report: 
Assessment Questionnaire: 
Assessment Date(s): 
01 Sep 2014 to 15 Dec 2014
Report completed
Population Type(s): 
All affected population
Leading/Coordinating Organization(s): 
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
occupied Palestinian territory