Another illiterate generation of Palestinian refugees
The statistics for the education levels of young Palestinians refugees are shameful, and to some extend explain why such youngsters form a fertile recruiting ground for those who would radicalize their world view. This sampling from the Palestinian population resident in Lebanese refugee camps is a stark reminder of how yet another generation of youngsters is being sacrificed to make a political point
- 50 percent of 17-year-olds and 40 percent of 16-year-olds receiving no education
- nearly 15 percent of children between the ages of seven and 17 drop out of school
- child labor among Palestinian refugee children stands at 6.1 percent
- one third of the Palestinian children are illiterate
The recent U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report on the subject coincides with the 20th anniversary of the international convention on the rights of the child, and sends a sobering message to all involved in the region.
“The figure is really worrisome when you consider that half of 17-year-old children are school dropouts as opposed to 40 percent when it comes to 16-year-olds,” Torres said.
“This is a sensitive age and if you add that to other risks they are exposed to in the camps, there is reason for alarm.”
He said most of the kids drop out because of poverty, the lack of appropriate educational programs and a lack of perspective for the future.
“The youngsters say why study when I can’t work afterwards;,” Torres said.
Lebanese law prevents Palestinian refugees from practicing most professions or owning property.
Torres said another alarming factor is child labor among Palestinian refugee children which stands at 6.1 percent, most of them boys.
“This is too high when you compare it to figures in developed countries where child labor has practically disappeared,” Torres said.
There are an estimated 250,000 to 270,000 Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon. The majority are from families which arrived in 1948 following the creation of the state of Israel.