“From Tents, We Will Build Universities Once Again”: Gaza Academics Call for Global Support

Palestine Israel Asia Higher Education News by Erudera News May 30, 2024

Bombing in Gaza, Palestine

Academics and staff of Gaza universities have united in a powerful letter, calling for international solidarity and support to rebuild the country’s education system.

In their letter, they call on the international academic community to resist the continuous “campaign of scholasticide” in occupied Palestine and to help in rebuilding demolished universities.

Moreover, they urge to stop collaborating in any initiatives seeking to “bypass, erase, or weaken the integrity of academic institutions” in Gaza, Erudera.com reports.

“We reaffirm our collective determination to remain on our land and to resume teaching, study, and research in Gaza, at our own Palestinian universities, at the earliest opportunity,” the letter states.

The letter’s signatories include staff from different departments of the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG), Al Azhar University Gaza, Al Aqsa University, University College of Applied Science, and Al Quds Open University.

They stress the urgent need for Gaza's education institutions to start operating again to support students and ensure lasting resilience and higher education sustainability.

Moreover, the letter emphasizes the need to formulate a long-term strategy to rehabilitate the infrastructure and reconstruct destroyed universities’ buildings.

However, it also note that such efforts require time and funding, posing a threat to the ability of institutions to help operations, which could potentially lead to the loss of staff and students and hinder the capacity to reoperate.

Universities in Gaza relied on student fees as their main source of income, but since the war began, this income has dropped. Academics say that the main priority for now is to switch to online teaching to minimize the disruption caused by the destruction of physical infrastructure.

“This transition necessitates comprehensive support to cover operational costs, including the salaries of academic staff,” they point out.

Signatories conclude the letter with gratitude towards people worldwide supporting Palestinians and their efforts to bring the ongoing war to an end.

“We built these universities from tents. And from tents, with the support of our friends, we will rebuild them once again.”

The war in Gaza began on October 7, 2023, when the militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel. Authorities said that since then, Israel has killed more than 35,00 people, most of them children and women.

All 12 universities in the Gaza Strip have been damaged or ruined by fighting. More than 350 lecturers and academics have been killed.

According to the UN, about 75 percent of educational infrastructure was damaged at the beginning of this year. All 12 higher education institutions in Gaza that have been damaged or destroyed completely:

  • Islamic University of Gaza
  • Al-Israa University
  • Al-Quds Open University
  • Al-Azhar University
  • Palestine Technical College
  • University of Palestine
  • University College of Applied Sciences
  • University of Palestine
  • Al-Aqsa University
  • Gaza University
  • Hassan II University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences
  • Dar al-Kalima University: Gaza Training Centre

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