Skip to main content

Rare example of PA self-criticism: PA lags in education and scientific research

Headline: “Painful facts and helpful solutions”
From an article by Sabri Saidam
“Anyone who thinks that our situation in the field of scientific research is good, should stop for a moment. Not because we like to complain and weep over our bitter fate, but [rather] out of a desire to have the courage to reevaluate our affairs in order to find a solution. When we begin to analyze the condition of Arab scientific research, it may be enough to note that the generation of knowledge in the Arab world seems to be at a standstill when compared to that of our rival neighbors. What we produce in Palestine – scientific papers and published research – is a thousandth of what our neighbors produce. The funds budgeted for education in Israel are many times more than our own. We see that, because of the political situation, productive scientific research for our military-security establishment is nonexistent, while our neighbors earmark about 50 percent of their defense budget for scientific research to develop tracking, reconnaissance, control, supervision, navigation, guidance, nuclear enrichment and artificial intelligence systems, in a number of areas.
The Israelis today are also a strong technological presence, to such an extent that most electronic equipment manufactured in the world today contains at least one common electronic component developed in Israel.
All this is a result of the Hebrew state’s focus on education and science…
In taking note of the occupation’s capabilities, our intention is not to praise [it] but rather to examine thoroughly the gap in knowledge that exists at the present time -- a gap deepened by the occupation – and the even greater economic gap that it [Israel] has caused us through financial and military abuse.
Setting the occupation aside, however, we must be honest with ourselves and recognize that there are things in our control - steps [we can take to] develop education and revive scientific research without the usual complaints and groans, but more out of a desire to put solutions in place after having defined the challenges, even if doing so proves to be difficult or unpopular.
The Palestinian educational system, in its present form, is no longer satisfactory. In saying this, [our] intention is not to belittle the role of the education community or its achievements in preserving [our national] identity… but rather to guide it, in order to advance, renew and modernize [our] education system.