Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Blockade threatens students' future in Gaza

Blockade threatens students' future in Gaza

Many students in the Gaza Strip aspire to a higher education abroad but the Israeli-Egyptian blockade deprives them of setting out on their journey.

Hundreds of Gaza graduates receive scholarship to attend universities abroad, but they are trapped in the impoverished coastal enclave. They are going to lose their scholarships according to a report by Press TV correspondent

Ayman Quader is one of these students. He has finished his bachelor's degree and was awarded a scholarship yet he cannot leave Gaza. The first term of his scholarship begins in February.

Quader told our correspondent that he is being prevented from going out by the complete siege of the Gaza Strip. Quader calls on all those who are concerned with humanitarian conditions in Gaza to support him and his peers who seek a brighter future in schools abroad.

Israel has imposed crippling restrictions on the Gaza Strip since 2007, preventing the shipment of food, fuel and other essentials into the populated region, pushing its impoverished population to the verge of starvation.

The condition has been further worsened by Egypt's refusal to open the Rafah crossing — the only alternative which is a border terminal not controlled by Israel —.

Along with the other residents of the Gaza Strip, students must wait until the next opening of the Rafah crossing. But there are no scheduled openings of the only gate for the 1.5 million Palestinians in the blockaded region.

Academicians in Gaza argue that traveling abroad is one of the fundamental rights of students which must not be violated by political disputes.

"I'm disappointed and frustrated as a teacher because my students are losing golden opportunities to pursue their studies abroad," said a Gaza University teacher, Akreem Habeeb.

Habeeb expressed regret that many of his students with scholarships from European and American universities lost their chance because they have not been allowed to leave the Gaza Strip.

"These students are living in a great fear of losing their seats and universities," Gaza Education Minister Ahmad al-Najjar told Press TV, warning "their future is in a great danger."

Students in the Gaza Strip have held several protests against the enclosure of their homeland, calling upon Egyptian authorities to facilitate their traveling abroad, requests that appear to fall on deaf ears in Cairo.

Reported by: Yousif EL Helo, Press TV
Ayman T. Quader, Gaza City

No comments: