No, in the afternoon there is a second set of teachers. As a result of this truncated education, in UNRWA there are 39,000 kids failing at the end of the school year. We do not leave it there, because this is a result of the truncated system and the overcrowded classrooms, with 45 to 50 kids in a room. We bring the kids who have failed back in for the summer months. There are no holidays for the teachers; they are all back, this time with ten to 15 in a classroom, because they can be spread out. During the school year, there are 215,000 kids to accommodate but we are down to 39,000 during the summer so they can be spread out and given the attention they need. Of those kids, 85% go from failure to success over the summer months. That is proof positive that the kids have the ability, all they need is the attention and quality of education that will bring about the realisation of their potential. That is also the standard befalling all kids throughout the system. Even those kids who are passing, in our view, could do better if they were getting more time and attention.
The calculation on the number of schools needed is related to the double shift system. We are trying to cope with 52,000 children born in Gaza every year, leading to increasing numbers every year. In grade 1, we have 29,000 children while in grade 9, there are 19,000, which demonstrates the shape of the demographics. The letter talks about a request for 20 schools but we have a plan presented at Sharm El Sheikh to build 100 schools. Our counterparts in the Palestinian Authority have a similar need in their schools. That is what needs to be done. At present we have approval for six or seven of those schools to be built in the next six months which means we face the next school year in September with parents asking about their children. Of the 40,000 children who are eligible to be in the UN education system, 30,000 are in Palestinian Authority schools which are overcrowded, and 10,000 are not in school at all. That is where we have traced them to be. For me the major problem is that parents come into my office and ask why I do not build schools. I say it is because we cannot get the cement in through the crossing points. Immediately they say there is all the cement one needs on the local market. It is available on the local markets because it is coming through the tunnels. The rhetorical question they put to me is this: "We understand why one would not build schools with illegally supplied cement - it is coming through the black market - but which illegality is worse - the illegality of using illegal cement or the illegality of failing to educate the children? Which will have the longer term negative consequence"? We know that failure to educate the children will have a profoundly negative consequence on the prospects for stability, security and Middle East peace, yet this is the debate we are having.
If the cement is allowed in, the crossing points are opened, it might fall into the hands of those who might misuse it. I thank the Chairman for highlighting that we can prove now, beyond any doubt, that the UN, as one actor on the ground, can actually account for every bag of cement. Let us forget about that argument and move on because now we have to build these schools and we have to provide water and sanitation, the infrastructure that is affecting the prospects of this place being habitable into the future.
We must move on from the arguments that something hypothetically might be misused when any visitor to the Gaza Strip can go down to the southern end and look at the tunnels and see the trucks of cement and all the other prohibited items. It is interesting. Whatever is allowed in via legitimate crossing points, immediately dries up on the tunnel side, but whatever is prohibited from the legitimate crossing points continues to come in on the tunnel side. That counterflood activity is evident for everybody to see. We should not get into trainspotting or truck counting but should look at what is actually happening on the ground.
It is fine - I have quickly glanced over this letter - to talk about the additional number of trucks. The consumer goods are now coming in from Israel rather than from Egypt under the ground. That is not the end of it, that is just the beginning. We have now proven in the practice of the past few months that it can be done. We can exchange legitimate commerce for a black market economy. Let us build on that and let us build on it urgently because the most important issue for all of us is the development of the next generation of Palestinians, 800,000 children under the age of 18, living in the Gaza Strip. Will they be good human beings in terms of their academic development, their capacity for self-sufficiency, their values, their mentalities, their mindsets, their outlook - is it going to be peaceful or violent and so on? A very big component in determining that will be the quality of education they receive. We take this very seriously at UNRWA to make sure these children develop to be good human beings, not a reflection of their current environment. The parents are working very hard with us on this because that is exactly the vision they want to see realised for their children as well.
I note the letter mentions the UN staff security arrangements. I find this inexplicable and it is unprecedented. I do not know anywhere else in the world where the details of security arrangements for United Nations staff are so publicly discussed. What can I say? I am not going to be distracted by that. We live and work in a conflict zone. For sure we are facing the threats and actions of extremists every single day but we are surrounded by a civilised and committed population who are supporting us and protecting us against the effects and the violence of extremism. We are there to work with the population, to succeed in the face of very difficult circumstances, not least circumstances that somehow help to reinforce and support the agenda of extremists and extremism, even though, let me be crystal clear, it does not justify at all any extremist action or any extremist mentality to be caught up in such circumstances. However, it is a reality of human frailty that many people in such devastating, bewildering, frustrating circumstances go over to a mentality of extremism and violence. What is humbling for Ms Trude Strand, myself and all my colleagues is to witness how stoically resilient the civilian population is to resist that temptation and how much effort they are making to ensure their children remain committed to what we call universal standards, values, an outlook for peace, a tolerant orientation and so on. That is what we need to work on, with and develop.
The phrase "dedevelopment" has been coined. A number of members asked what are the indicators? Is there hunger in Gaza? By different indicators around the world, what is the status of the population? It is not Ethiopia. The big tragedy is that it is probably the only place on the planet that is being dedeveloped. We always get involved in development around the world, yet what we are witnessing here are first world standards when it comes to infant mortality, health indicators, child development, nutrition, education and so on. All of these classic indicators are going negative rather than being built-on to their potential. That is the big tragedy of the opportunity we are missing.
The movement of people still remains very restricted. Since the flotilla the Government of Egypt has opened the Rafah terminal much more for medical cases, migrant workers, and people who have visas to go abroad. There is a conduit for students and so on but the numbers going in and out through the Erez crossing point into Israel remains very limited and not much development has been made there.
Life most definitely has not returned to normal. The shop shelves are full and that is great but most people have no money so they cannot buy what is available. The fact that shop shelves can be full is an indication that we get can get things into Gaza but let us get the things in that matter. Let us get the supplies in that will make a difference to the economic status, to the human conditions in which people live and to the infrastructure. That is why we need to focus on the supplies I mentioned.
There was a question on dual use products and who defines that. There is an international standard that is applied globally when we talk about items that are prohibited or considered to be for dual use. Perhaps Ms Trude Strand can deal with that issue.