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Description of Education Systems in Palestine before 1948 (Nakba): Historical Outline of The Palestinian Education System, British Mandate: A Survey of Palestine: Volume II - Page 635. Chapter XVI: Social Services : Section 2
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Posted on October 28, 2007
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Section 2.


Historical outline of the education system.

35. At the date of the British Occupation in 1918 the public system of elementary and secondary education in Palestine was essentially that first established by the Turkish Jaw of 1869. The secondary and higher elementary schools in the provinces were subject to Vilayet control under Imperial officers and were comparatively efficient. The lower elementary schools in towns and villages were managed by special Local Committees, and were often little better than the old Quran schools. The general organisation of the school system was modelled on the French. In theory, Ottoman public education was free and compulsory; religious instruction formed part of the curriculum, and some provision was made by Jaw for religions other than Islam. Minority sects (millets) enjoyed a certain autonomy in matters of personal status and were allowed to maintain their own private schools without much assistance from Imperial or Vilnyet (provincial) revenues. The assistance given, if any, was the salary of an instructor in the Turkish language. In practice the schools of minority sects received little or no support. Turkish was the language of instruction in public schools down to the outbreak of war. Universal elementary education of Moslems never became a reality in any part of the Empire and there was relatively little female education.

36. Education of an elementary type was provided for Christian children by their own religious authorities or by missionary bodies of various denominations, while foreign Jewish bodies, such as the Rilfsverein (German), the Alliance Israelite (French), and the Anglo-Jewish Association (English) conducted schools for Jewish children, employing as the chief medium of instruction the language of their country of origin. In some town schools, however, and in all "settlement" schools, of which most were maintained by the Jewish Colonisation Association (PICA), Hebrew was the medium of instruction. In 1914 the Zionist Education Council (Va'ad haHinnukh) was formed, and took over the control of 12 schools. This number had increased by 1918 to 40, and formed 'the nucleus of the present Hebrew public school system, now under the control of the General Council of the Jewish Community (Va' ad Deumi).