Review of 2023 Palestinian Matriculation Exams

IMPACT-se — July 2023

This review examines the Palestinian matriculation exams, known as the General Certificate of Secondary Education Examination in Palestine (Tawjihi, or Injaz) for June 2023. The Tawjihi examinations are the culmination of the 12-year Palestinian education system. The exams not only cover the material taught in twelfth-grade Palestinian curriculum textbooks, but highlight aspects of the curriculum which are deemed worthy of special attention. Students are tested on material that denies Jewish history in Jerusalem, and expresses rejection of Israel – a UN member state – including its right to exist. Given that the Tawjihi exams can be viewed as an indicator of the importance ascribed by the Palestinian Ministry of Education to specific topics, it appears that non-recognition of Israel, the use of violence against it, and the promotion of jihad and martyrdom, are central to the Palestinian curriculum. Report

Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education Study Cards 2021-22, Grades 1-11Selected Examples 

IMPACT-se — January 2022 
This report analyzed textbooks and new study cards produced by the Palestinian Authority (PA) for the 2021-22 school year, which are used in the curricula of the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, and UNRWA schools, and includes selected examples from several hundred pages of educational content. Contrary to the assurances made by the PA to its international partners that improvements would be made rapidly to improve the 2020-21 curriculum, IMPACT-se found that there were no revisions to the PA curriculum for the current 2021–22 school year. In addition to the lack of PA-assured textbook revisions, research on the supplemental online learning materials, called study cards, found that the PA Ministry of Education published the same, and worse, content in violation of international standards of peace, tolerance, and non-violence in education. Selected Examples 

The 2020–21 Palestinian School Curriculum Grades 1–12—Selected Examples
This updated May 2021 IMPACT-se study analyzed textbooks used for the 2020-21 Palestinian curriculum (West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and UNRWA) and includes selected examples from the research of 222 textbooks. Of those, 105 textbooks have not changed at all and remain as they were in 2019. Essentially, there were that no substantive positive changes made to the current Palestinian curriculum. Textbooks remain openly antisemitic and continue to encourage violence, jihad and martyrdom while peace is still not taught as preferable or even possible. Based on IMPACT-se’s UNESCO-derived standards of peace and tolerance, our findings show that the new PA curriculum does not meet these international standards and in some cases have even added more problematic content, compared to the previous curriculum.   Selected Examples   Changes

PALESTINIAN CURRICULUM PUT TO THE TEST The General Certificate of High School Examination in Palestine (Tawjihi)
IMPACT-se — November 2019A Tajihi Exam
This report studies the twenty-six tests comprising the Palestinian 2019 Tajihi Matriculation Exam which tests grade 12 material from the Palestinian curriculum. The exam was analyzed according to IMPACT-se’s UNESCO-derived standards to research peace and tolerance in school education and compared it with the relevant textbooks and content from the PA curriculum that students needed to memorize for the exam. IMPACT-se’s finding is that many of the final exams are so designed that students must study problematic content that does not meet international standards for peace and tolerance.  Report  Exec Summary

THE REJECTION OF PEACE: References to Peace Agreements, Israel, and Jews, Now Removed from PA Curriculum
IMPACT-se — September 2019
A report on selected positive content about peace, relations with Israel, and Jewish historical presence previously in the Palestinian school curriculum between 2000 and 2016, and subsequently removed from the restructured 2016–19 curriculum. Although some of the positive examples were removed even before 2016, the “new” PA curriculum represents a quantum leap backward toward radicalizing the textbooks–and unfortunately–Palestinian school children.   Report

THE NEW PALESTINIAN CURRICULUM: BY THE NUMBERS–Quantitative Analysis of the Current Palestinian Ministry of Education Curriculum
IMPACT-se — September 2019
A quantitative analysis of textbooks from the current Palestinian Ministry of Education curriculum, applying UNESCO-derived standards of peace and tolerance. All 2019-20 textbooks for the first semester were analyzed. Additionally, in this report, we define Problematic Content as: violent connotations, incitement to violence, hatred of the Other, and radical, inappropriate or disturbing content. The accompanying graph from the report displays by grade, the number of violent references included in each textbook. Report

Wasatia Education: Exploring the Palestinian Curriculum
Wasatia Academic Institute & IMPACT-se — 2019

This booklet suggests Wasatia Education for the Palestinian educational system using the methodologies of both IMPACT-se and the WASATIA Academic Institute. It explores the present Palestinian school textbooks and identifies areas where the curriculum incites, demonizes and delegitimizes the Other while proposing concepts and values to allow for a future of coexistence, tolerance and prosperity. For peace to take place between Palestinians and Israelis, it is essential that the new generation is taught the values of moderation, reconciliation, mediation, conflict resolution, peace, empathy, tolerance, common ethical values, and democracy, and to instill in them the spirit of applying these values in their daily lives. Digital Format  Booklet Format

The New Palestinian Curriculum—2018-19 Update—Grades 1-12
By Eldad J. Pardo, IMPACT-se — September 2018

IMPACT-se’s latest research on the new Palestinian curriculum for the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem includes recently published textbooks for the 2018-19 school year. The curriculum presents a common radical voice accommodating the full spectrum of extreme nationalist and Islamist ideologies in both Gaza and the West Bank, including anti-Semitic motifs amid themes of continuous struggle, heroism and martyrdom.
Full Report   Findings and Analysis 

REFORM or RADICALIZATION: PA 2017 Curriculum—A Preliminary Review
By Eldad Pardo, Arik Agassi and Marcus Sheff, IMPACT-se — October 2017

With the first full reform of the Palestinian curriculum since 2000, IMPACT-se, in its second of three reports, covers sixty-six textbooks from the new PA curriculum of 2017–18 for Grades 5–11. Further research will provide a full assessment of the new curriculum covering Grades 1–12. The crux of this report is education for war and against peace with Israel, demonstrating that the curriculum has further distanced itself from our UNESCO-derived standards of peace and tolerance.

Full Report  Exec Summary  Selected Examples (Updated)

Children of the RevolutionPalestinian Elementary School Curriculum 2016-2017: RADICALIZATION AND REVIVAL OF THE PLO PROGRAM
By Eldad J. Pardo, IMPACT-se — April 2017

This IMPACT-se report examines the 2016–17 Palestinian Authority school curriculum, focusing on elementary school grades 1-4. There is a comparison with upper grade student learning. The results point to instruction that is significantly more radical than previous curricula. To a greater extent than the 2014–15 textbooks, the curriculum teaches students to be expendable martyrs, rejects negotiations, demonizes and denies the existence of Israel and focuses on a “return” to an exclusively Palestinian homeland.

Full Report  (pdf 4.3 mb)

hamas2008“Palestinian Textbooks: From Arafat to Abbas and Hamas”
By IMPACT-se — March 2008

This is our concluding analysis of the seven-year schoolbook publication project, which took place in the Palestinian Authority until 2006. It is based on the six reports issued by IMPACT-se since 1998, including our recent draft report on schoolbooks for grades 11 and 12 (see below). It examines the underlying principles in PA’s attitude to the Other and to peace in the Middle East, which are revealed in the books. It also attempts to determine whether a shift took place in this respect during the publication process, as a result of the major political changes in the Palestinian Authority. Briefly, it concludes that some improvement was noticeable in the schoolbooks published under Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, following the death of Yassir Arafat, but the older, uncompromising approach reappears under the Hamas-led government.

Full Report:

pa2007DRAFT: Jews, Israel, the West and Peace in the Palestinian Authority Textbooks for Grades 11, 12 and Muslim Schools in the West Bank
By IMPACT-se — September 2007

This draft report covers school textbooks of the last two grades of the PA educational system, which were published in 2005 and 2006, thus ending a seven-year process in which the PA replaced the old Jordanian and Egyptian schoolbook for all grades with its own ones. While the books for grades 1–10 were all written and published under the late PA Chairman Yasser Arafat, the books for grade 11 were written under his successor Mahmud Abbas and the books for grade 12 were written under the Hamas government, which may account for the changes therein.