The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said Friday that when 374 government schools re-open their doors in Gaza to a quarter of a million students returning from winter break tomorrow, parents, teachers and children will be hoping classrooms will operate without having heat nor light. An official who runs schools in Rafah, Gaza's southernmost district, Saeed Harb, said that even before the fuel cuts, power shortages meant that children were already cold in classrooms. "Many rooms didn't have light simply because there were no longer any light bulbs in the market. Palestinian children are finding it almost impossible to learn, and you can see it in their failing marks," he added. On Wednesday, Israel's Supreme Court declared legal the reductions to the fuel and electricity supply of Gaza. For students, this could mean even colder classrooms and fewer classes. Gaza relies on Israel for fuel to generate electricity and water. Israel has restricted the entry of everything but survival basics such as fuel, food and medicine into Gaza since June of last year, when Hamas, which won elections in 2006, forcibly excised the Palestinian Authority from power. In October, Israel cut energy supplies to Gaza's 1.4 million residents in response to militants firing rockets at the nearby Israeli town of Sderot, and on 17 January, with even more Qassams landing in Sderot, Israel shut off all energy sources. Gaza's main power plant shut down three days later for lack of fuel, leaving households in large parts of the tiny coastal territory without light, heat or running water. Hospitals switched to emergency generators, cutting back on non-critical services. Raw sewage was released into the sea at a rate of 30 million litters per day. Israel has agreed to restore energy supplies to Gaza, but at far below the pre-June levels. January's fuel cuts fell upon a population already reeling from months of closures and restrictions, a population, UNICEF Special Representative Patricia McPhillips stressed, predominantly made up of children. "Some 56 percent of Gazans are under 18 years old," said McPhillips said. This means, she added, that children are bearing the brunt of restrictions, whether it is of food, fuel or school supplies. Enrolment levels and test scores tell a story of deep decline, McPhillips said. Enrolment figures for grades 1-10 have dropped from a peak of 96.8% in 2000-2001, to 91.2% in 2006-2007. Learning achievement is plummeting. An UNRWA survey in its Gaza schools in 2007 showed that 66% to 90% of children in grades four to nine failed math, and 61% in grade eight-failed Arabic. UNICEF spokesperson in Geneva Veronique Taveau told reporters that to respond to power shortages, UNICEF and partners are delivering safe drinking water to 220 schools each day once school re-opens on 2 February and Providing emergency education supplies to make up for lack of resources in classrooms, partly due to restrictions on goods coming into Gaza since June 2007. She added that UNICEF would be constructing five 5-cubic meter stationary storage tanks, and three 1-cubic-meter mobile storage tanks for emergency use near water pumping stations. Among other measures, she said, next week, UNICEF will provide 60 bicycles to help water facility staff monitor and operate water pumping stations; and protection kits (50 suits and 100 boots) for sewage facility staff. http://www.indianmuslims.info/news/...turn_school_without_heat_or_light_unicef.html How this is going to create a population that will be productive or even amenable to resolution is beyond me. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!