The Right to Education has been internationally recognized since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Whereas all countries in the world have accepted bearing duties in realising education as a right by signing at least unto one of the documents related to this right, today this right is still denied to millions around the world with 69 million children are still out of school and more than 700 million can't read.
For the right to education to be meaningful, the government as the main duty bearer is to respect, protect and fulfill the 4 A's (the right must be available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable) (concept developed by the former UN Special Rapporteur, Katarina Tomasevski).
Education in Palestine is a unique issue; along with the Palestinians struggle for independence, education turned as a primary means of survival; in 1948, only 25% of children were enrolled whereas in 2005, the enrolment was about 90% at primary levels. (MoPIC, 2005a)
However, realizing the fundamental human rights in general and the right to education in specific faces many obstacles; the occupation with its practices on one hand and the limited resources and capacities of the Palestinian Authority (PA) on the other.
At the Palestinian level, although education is free and government-funded, it lacks Availability due to the existing inadequate infrastructure. The learning environment in most of the schools does not meet children's development needs whereby the schools are not in good shape; no adequate number of well-appointed classrooms, lack or inappropriate sanitation facilities or sufficient and adequate recreation grounds, for the learning environment to be safe and fulfill Acceptability.
The Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE), due to the limited resources, could not succeed in meeting all the challenges of its schools resulting from the increasing student population coupled with inadequate physical learning environment. While focusing its funds onto large-scale interventions in the form of construction of new schools, MoEHE reserved the existing old ones suffering the consequences of their very poor environment. Considering the comprehensive concept of student health; mental, physical, social and psychological, MoEHE through its programs and plans aims to attain adequate physical learning environment for more than one million students and over 40,000 members of teaching staff.
The relationship between health and education is an interactive one; the good health of the students has its large impact on their performance and learning. Moreover, researches have shown that poor health status of students is one of the causes leading to increased truancy, early drop-out in addition to poor performance of students in class. As students spend most of their time at schools, therefore, schools are a good place where students can adopt a healthy lifestyle, and in turn strengthen it within their families and communities.
Since we seek to promote just and equal social and economic rights for Palestinians, the right to education as one of these social rights is being approached through improving the physical learning environment of schools for education to be more effective.