The Nuseirat Elementary Boys School was built entirely out of shipping containers by UNRWA at the start of the 2009-2010 school year. The school is comprised of 18 classrooms, each built using two shipping containers welded together and with holes cut for doors and windows. Since June of 2007, construction materials have been banned from entering the Gaza Strip, impeding the building of schools, homes, and infrastructure. In the same time period, the refugee student population, eligible for schooling in UNRWA’s education centers, has grown by more than 15,000 students. Unable to bring in necessary construction materials to build new schools to accommodate its students and to deal with problems of overcrowding, which also existed prior to the closure, UNRWA introduced a double-shift system and also constructed the container school. During the 2009-2010 school year, the container school held 865 students. For the 2010-2011 school year, the school accommodates 1,052 students; 528 attend school in the morning shirt and 524 attend during the afternoon shift.
Classrooms built from containers are also being used in other UNRWA schools in Gaza and a new container school was recently built in Rafah. Despite these efforts to accommodate a growing student population, at the start of the 2010-2011 school year UNRWA was still forced to turn away 40,000 refugee children eligible to receive a UN education.
For more on the Nuseirat Elementary Boys School:
To read UNRWA’s announcement on the shortage of schools in the Gaza Strip, click here.
To read the press release “Due to Gaza closure, 40,000 refused from UNRWA schools”, September 2010, click here.
To read the position paper “Reconstructing the Closure: Will recent changes to the closure policy be enough to build in Gaza?”, December 2010, click here.
To read the news story “Aid groups say they, not Hamas, are thwarted by Israeli restrictions on Gaza”, Washington Post, December 20, 2010, click here.