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Educational Institutions

Beit Jala was one of the first cities in Palestine to have access to modern education, and direct contact with both western and eastern influences from abroad. Christian missionaries created generations of educated people through the 18th and 19th centuries, and opened a window on the languages, literature and scientific achievements of other nations, at a time when governmental education was either totally lacking or poor enough to be of no consideration. In the late 19th and 20th centuries, Beit Jala was blessed with some of the best and most modern educational institutions in all of Palestine. The Latin Patriarchate founded the one of the first modern schools in Palestine in Beit Jala in 1854. The Russian Orthodox Church established one of Palestine’s first schools for girls here in 1870; formal education was extremely rare in those days, even for men.

Higher education came to Beit Jala when the Latin Patriarchate moved here from Jerusalem in 1857, and after returning to Jerusalem several times become permanently established in Beit Jala in 1936. The 20th century also saw the establishment of the Evangelical Lutheran Talitha Kumi School in 1951, which has since been known for its excellence in language instruction.

In all, the town now has 3 public elementary and secondary schools that are managed by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and one school run by the UNRWA in addition to 6 private schools, some of which are administered by religious institutions. The Ministry of Education monitors education in these private schools through direct coordination with their administration and supervisors.

According to the results of the PCBS Population, Housing and Establishment Census- 2007, the illiteracy rate among Beit Jala population is about 2.9 percent, of whom 71 percent are females. Of the literate population, 9.7 percent can read and write, 20.1 percent had elementary education, 25.6 percent had preparatory education, 22.7 percent had secondary education, and 21.3 percent completed higher education.

There is a total number of 4,012 students, 208 teachers, and 151 classes (Directorate of Education in Bethlehem, 2009). It should be noted here that the average number of students per teacher in the school is nearly 19, while the average number of students per class is approximately 27.

This gives the city a relatively low overall student to teacher ratio, with 19 students per teacher, although the rate varies between private and government schools, ranging between and average 15:1 in private schools and 19:1 in public schools. The number of students per classroom, however, is higher with an average of 30 students per classroom in private schools 36 students per classroom in public schools.

Its worth mentioning that Beit Jala has a branch of Al-Quds Open University with a total of (3,500) student; also there are two community colleges; Talitha Kumi College for the education of hospitality, and Bethlehem Bible College. There is also the theology institute known as the Latin Patriarch Seminary. Moreover, Beit Jala city also has a vocational training center as well as Bethlehem Music Academy.

Additionally, Beit Jala city has 6 nurseries as follows:

  1. The Arab Orthodox Sports Club's nursery.
  2. Yakoutat Beit Jala nursery
  3. Beit al Liqa' nursery
  4. Women child care society nursery
  5. Abu Yussif's Nursery
  6. Ni'meh Attahan's Nursery.

Beit Jala Map