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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.
Latin Patriarchate School
Principle: Father. Ibrahim Shomali
Web Page: www.lpj.org
Address: Manshieh St.,PO Box 3, Beit Jala
Founded in 1854 with only a single classroom, Beit Jala’s Latin Patriarch School was one of the first modern schools in all of Palestine, and the first of the now 13 Latin Patrarch Schools in the region. The school currently enrolls around 1,000 students in grades kindergarten through high school.
Evangelical Lutheran School Talitha Kumi
Principle: Dr. Ralph Lindman / Mr. Jihad Abu Amsha
Address: Talitha Kumi St.,PO Box 7, Beit Jala
Talitha Kumi School was established in Jerusalem in 1851 as a school for the Arab girls. It moved to the town of Beit Jala in 1950 and then to its current location in 1961. The school is a Palestinian Arab - German subsidiary of the Lutheran Church and is supported by “Bost Berlin Missionary” .
The school includes classes from kindergarten to grade 12. The graduates can sit for Palestinian Tawjihi with the possibility of obtaining a German Tawjihi certificate which is equivalent to the PalestinianTawjihi.
The students are from different backgrounds; some of whom is coming from a city a camp or a village, including Muslims and Christians, and almost equal percentage of males and females. The total number is about 900 students.
American Jerusalem School \Bethlehem
Principle: Mr. Ross Byars / Miss Grace Abu Mohor
Telephone: 02- 2765779/ 02-2742772
Fax: 02- 2765779
Address: Al-Sahel St., Beit Jala
It was established by Mr. Ross Byars and Miss Grace Abu Mohor in the year of 1998 to help students with highly academic new technological education. This school started with only 45 students from Kindergarten to fifth grade. Currently, the school enrolls around 350 students in grades kindergarten through high school.
The Good Shepherd Swedish School
Principle: Miss Aida Abu Mohor
Telephone: 02- 2742204
Fax: 02- 2765898
Address: Bab Zqaq, Beit Jala
The new building which is located in the city of Beit Jala was founded in 1965. This school was known under the title “Al Asujieh” because its linkage to the Swedish Jerusalem Society and still is called in this way.
The school has passed through several educational stages. It was founded in 1925 and it was known under the name of “Al Watanieh Al Ahlieh" in Beir Zeit. The first funding came from some American Christian Societies. Then the Jerusalem Swedish Society fully sponsored the school and administered it with full recognition from the government of Jordan.
The Good Shepherd Swedish School is a Secondary School for girls, from the Kindergarten to 12th Grade. In addition to English as a second language, the school also teaches the Spanish language as a third language.
The school is run by a local board headed by Bishop Doctor Munib Yunan and led by the principal Ms. Aida Abu Mohor. It enjoys a high quality of education.
Mor Aphrem, the Syrian School
Principle: Miss Amal Bahnam
Telephone: 02- 2751217
Fax: 02- 2751218
Address: Beit Jala, P.O. Box (52)
The Syrian Orthodox School belonging to St. Mark's Syrian Orthodox Patriarchal Church of Jerusalem under the supervision of His Eminence Mor Sewerios Malki Murad, the Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem, Jordan and the Holy Land.
It was established in September, 2003 with only 15 students and two teachers. Currently, the school enrolls around 285 students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade, but the school aims at continuing the Secondary School by adding a new grade every year, by 2018 the school will celebrate its first Secondary Graduation.
Main Aim: creating a healthy educational setting based on the Holistic Approach for all Palestinian children regardless of their social or ethnic background as well as teaching the Aramic language and preserving the Aramic Heritage.
Latin Patriarchate Seminary
Head: Fr. Adeeb Zo'mot
Address: Al-Manshieh St., PO Box 3, Beit Jala
First opened in Jerusalem in 1852, the Latin Patriarch Seminary has moved back and forth between Jerusalem and Beit Jala several times before permanently establishing itself in Beit Jala in 1936. The nine year program of study includes an introductory year of spirituality, a year abroad in France, two years of philosophy, and four years of theology, with a final year of pastoral experience in the parishes before the deaconate. In it's over 150 years of existence the Seminary has produced 267 ordained priests, 11 bishops, and two patriarchs.
Al-Quds Open University
Telephone No.: 02-2747808
Address: Beit Jala Main Street,
Established in 1991 with only three classrooms, the Bethlehem branch of Al Quds University (located in Beit Jala) has grown considerably and now has over 3500 students pursuing studies in applied sciences and technology, agriculture, management and entrepreneurship, administrative and economic sciences, education, social and family development, and continuing education.
Community College for Hotel Management
Bethlehem Academy for Music