From the time of the Ottoman Turks, Palestinians have been educated under systems imposed by outsiders. Since the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, the situation has been exacerbated by the combination of an Israeli civil and military authority and a Jordanian curriculum. The intifadeh (uprising), which began in December 1987 and continues today, has challenged the Israeli occupation and all its institutions. All educational establishments have been subject to frequent closures by military authorities, forcing Palestinians to reexamine their present system of education, and to look for both short- and long-term alternatives.

Khalil Mahshi and Kim Bush review the current educational system in the West Bank and Gaza, and analyze the intifadeh as a catalyst for educational change. They examine informal, community-based education; alternative modes of instruction designed to bypass closures but still using the existing system and textbooks; and long-term planning as part of the nation-building process. They argue that the intifadeh has created a giant educational laboratory, which challenges conservative educators to start afresh. They restate that challenge clearly, encouraging debate among educators in Palestine and in the international educational community.

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