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Palestinian pupils start their final examinations (Tawjihi) this week in the Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank. Palestinian pupils, like others worldwide, are getting more worried as the exams approach. However, their situation is tougher and complicated.
Around 87,000 pupils will participate in the high school final exams in both Palestinian territories.
Education ministry statistics estimate that roughly 45 per cent of them are situated in the Gaza Strip.
Every year, Tawjihi exams grab a lot of attention at official and local levels in Gaza – whether by pupils, parents, or officials.
It is one of the few times since the Israeli offensive on the Gaza strip that Hamas Prime Minister Esmail Haniya appeared in public to visit Gaza schools and check up on pupils and their preparations.
According to the Ministry of Education, the final exams will cost Palestinian authorities around 24 million shekels (Dh22 million).
“My day is so full, I don’t have time to open books usually. I work with my brothers in a vegetable shop and help them after school to help support my family.
“I stopped working a month ago to focus on studying for [the] final exams,” said Mahmoud Judah, a pupil in Gaza.
“A huge problem I face is the power outages which happen very often in Gaza for long hours… I have to study by candle-light.
“I’m not optimistic about the future, there are thousands of unemployed graduates and none of them can leave Gaza or [earn] a proper living in it,” he added.
Yara Shaheen, another high school pupil, said she hoped to pass the exams despite a severe shortage of teaching staff affecting her preparations.
“I really feel traumatised, because always I hear bad news or even I see it myself in Gaza… Wherever I go, I see destruction,” Yara said.
Many Gaza teachers have been on strike in line with Palestinian National Authority orders to pile the pressure on Hamas.