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Aspects of Educational and Cultural Life


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Schools for Palestinians under the Mandate could be divided into three kinds: public (government), private (both Palestinian Christian and Muslim), and foreign (Christian). By 1947 some 130,000 Palestinian students out of a Palestinian population of 1,238,000 were attending elementary and secondary schools. This number comprised approximately 85 percent of school-aged boys from the towns and 63 percent from the villages. For girls the figures were 60 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively.

The public system was the largest of the three, but was hampered by insufficient funds. Government expenditure on education averaged only 4.5 to 5 percent of the total budget throughout the Mandate. (The largest single item of expenditure was "security," occasioned by the government's suppression of Palestinian resistance to its pro-Zionist policies.) Because of insufficient funds, the proportion of admissions to applications at government schools, even during the last decade of the Mandate, averaged less than 64 percent, where schools were available; in at least half of the ca. eight hundred villages they were not.

However, the desire for education in the villages was so great that the villagers eagerly contributed not only village lands as sites for schools, but also free labor and cash for their construction. Voluntary cash contributions from villagers for educational and other village social services alone rose from £P 18,285 in 1941 (the Palestinian pound was equivalent to the pound sterling), to £P 86,961 in 1942, to £P 288,464 in 1945.