JERUSALEM(2000-2017) | GOVERNMENTALITIES OF INFRASTRUCTURE | Governmentalization of East Jerusalem Education System

The education system in the East Jerusalem had undergone a fundamental change since the turn of the millennium, revealing an underlying governmentalization process of Israeli administration attempting to gain control of Palestinian-Arab education system. This process of encroachment and permeation of Israeli administration and government into Palestinian East Jerusalem have greatly increased the dependency and adaptation of the Palestinian to Israeli in the last two decades. Apart from judicial and coercive means, Israeli occupation and annexation of East Jerusalem now are also carried out by the “soft” power of governmentality embedded in and mediated through the education system.[1]


One of the prominent features of the governmentalization process in East Jerusalem education system in recent decade is the thriving “recognized but not formal” educational institutions which have experienced a rapid growth from only 6 in 2001 to 76 in 2012. [2]The advent of these institutions is a result of classroom shortage in the Palestinian Jerusalem due to long-term neglect and discrimination by the Israeli authorities. The growing demands for education after the return of Palestinian Jerusalemites from the east side also pushed the Israeli authorities to loosen restrictions and approve and recognize these “recognized but not formal” institutions to fill the vacuum in the education system. Institutions that are found eligible by the Israeli Ministry of Education will be allotted this official status and funded up to 75% of the funds for formal public institutions.[3] The growing demands for schools and the generous financial support from the government have also provided business opportunity within the education system and more “recognized but not formal” schools were getting built by entrepreneurs.


Fig1. The shift in the East Jerusalem education system after the advent of “recognized but not formal” institutions and the increasing affiliation of the Israeli authorities.


The advent of these informal institutions has weakened the private school’s sector which was operated outside Israeli supervision and control, increasing affiliation with the Israeli state in the education system. In the 1990s, the private sector included almost 60% of students, but the number shrunk to only 17% by 2012 while 35% of the students enrolled in these flourishing “recognized but not formal” schools.[4] Although these informal schools have alleviated shortage and brought improvement in Palestinian education system, the system has undergone a huge shift involving “managerial, budgetary and functional affiliation”[5] with the Israeli authorities in which the gradual inclusion of the system by the Israeli ruling apparatus in almost all aspects, funding, management, pedagogy was clearly manifested.[6] As a result of increasing affiliation with Israel state, the schooling system in East Jerusalem suffered an even deeper discrimination and severe underdevelopment. The lack of classrooms in the system continued and peaked in 2015 with estimated 1600 classrooms.[7] The schools have no choices but to reject new enrollments and tried to work with crowded classes.


Fig2. Students in formal and “Recognized but not formal” schools




  1. Dumper, M. (2014). Jerusalem Unbound: Geography, history, and the future of the holy city. New York: Columbia University Press.
  2. ibid.
  3. Shlomo, O. (2016b). Sub-Formalization in East Jerusalem schooling. Geography Research Forum, 36, 51e67.
  4. ibid.
  5. Maimon, O. (2015). Falling between the cracks: Student dropout and classroom shortage of classrooms in East Jerusalem. Jerusalem: Ir Amim NGO report.
  6. ibid.
  7. ibid.

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