Since 2009 we have been supporting Palestine in developing education and training to boost employability, increase access to opportunity and promote social cohesion. Complementing the work of the EU’s External Action Service, we bring together ministries and social partners to develop scalable projects.
The ETF, along with other key stakeholders in Palestine and the Ministries of Education and Labour, are working hard to implement a new vision for the technical and vocational education and training system which currently represents a very small part of the overall education system. This restructuring strategy and the fostering of public-private business partnerships will seek to address one of Palestine’s most pressing social issues, that of high youth unemployment (40.7% in 2015) and low activity rates (45.8%, in 2015, 19.1% for females).
Political context and priorities
“The Palestinian context (a territory under 50 years of occupation) is unique in many ways. The lack of control over land, water, physical boundaries and revenue, the administrative and political fragmentation; a discriminatory planning environment of fundamental uncertainty, and the regular and persistent violations of human rights and international humanitarian law prevent the Palestinian society and economy from realising their potential in all respects. In addition, the narrative about Palestine is only to a very limited extend controlled by Palestinians themselves.Palestine is a sui generis case for aid delivery and cooperation. In line with the EU’s political objective of achieving the two-state solution, and under these constraining conditions, much of the support provided so far by the EU has focused on offering protection, improving the livelihoods of Palestinians, as well as preparing their institutions for statehood.”
Source: European Joint Strategy in support of Palestine 2017-2020
The National Policy Agenda 2017-2022 – Putting Citizens First is built on the national vision and three pillars 1) Path to Independence, 2) Government Reform and 3) Sustainable Development. The last pillar comprises the majority of the reform agenda and includes measures to improve the quality of education for all, including the alignment of Technical and Vocational Education and Training to labour market needs.
Palestine has a fast growing and very young population, with over 40% between 15-24. The World Bank classifies the economy as lower-middle income. GDP growth is affected by political instability and the strained peace process, which limits the identification of medium and long-term trends. The economy is widely dominated by small, family-owned businesses. Approximately 97% of enterprises employ fewer than 10 employees. A significant share of these micro-small companies are informal. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2015, 62% of total employment was informal. These figures decrease proportionally to increased educational attainment.
Education and labour policies
Palestine has a relatively low skilled workforce with 55% of adults with low education. However, only 5% have no schooling and 24% of Palestinians hold a university degree, significant figures compared with the other countries in the region. Unemployment is higher among graduates of tertiary education (34%) than lower skilled (25% and 21% respectively for low and medium skilled). Graduates consequently compete for jobs below their level of qualification.
Policies are geared towards boosting vocational education which currently has very low take up. This will assist the difficult transition from school to the labour market. This transition is different for males and females. Males typically transit to employment or unemployment, while females typically become inactive after school. Very few women move into employment or to unemployment, and the ones who do tend to have higher education levels.
EU support and the ETF
The European Union is the biggest multilateral donor. A priority of the EU-Palestinian Action Plan is to enhance the quality of education, including vocational education and training. In 2012, the EU Delegation launched two programmes designed by the ETF, and worth €16 million. One program is still running and finishes in October 2019.
The EU supports the institutional capacity of the Palestinian Authority, in view of the creation of a future Palestinian state and contributes to its recurrent expenditures via the programme PEGASE with over €168 million yearly. Support to Palestine refugees is channelled via UNRWA, the UN agency providing them with basic services in the West Bank and Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria with a contribution of at least €82 million annually.
ETF is supporting Palestine in the development of an integrated monitoring and evaluation system for the Technical and Vocational Education and Training sector.
In 2018, ETF will carry out the following actions:
- Piloting the new TVET monitoring framework with the NGO TVET League, a network of 16 private VET providers
- Sharing of good practice in carrying out tracer studies with national key stakeholders via a joint publication with Enabel and GIZ
- Preparing the Development Centre for implementing the Torino Process (2019)
In addition, the ETF will support the Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Education and Higher Education in adapting their monitoring and evaluation tools.
* This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual position of the Member States on this issue.