Economics of Higher Education under Occupation: The Case of Palestine
Keywords:Economics of higher education, National dignity and identity, Socio-Economic development, Human capital.
AbstractThrough some extremely difficult experiences, education in general and Higher Education in particular has remained a constant focus of resources in Palestine. Due to the ongoing occupation of Palestine, Palestinian universities could not expect to contribute significantly to economic development in the same way as other institutions around the world. However, the establishment and development of universities in Palestine meant that Palestine was investing in Palestinians, and, for reasons discussed in this paper, the development represented a clear breakthrough to be celebrated throughout Palestinian society. Most of the previous studies on the Economics of Higher Education (HE) have not explicitly dealt with the Economics of Higher Education under occupation, especially in Palestine, neglecting much of the broader context and strategic impact of Palestinian Higher Education. This research investigates in depth Palestinian HE socio-economic outcomes for Palestinians, bringing to the light the meaning of HE under occupation that goes beyond mere economic impact to include its impact on Palestinians' human capital, dignity, and national identity reflecting the unique case of Palestine. This research reveals that from very early on it was clear that Palestinian Higher Education could not give the economy a boost, but that universities did give people a pride in Palestine, which, given the conditions of a brutal military occupation that increasingly separated one Palestinian from the next, amounted to quite a significant achievement. It demonstrated the central role Palestinian HE plays in the life of Palestinians as it is goes beyond means of economic growth to means of survival, building human capital, and maintaining people's dignity and national identity.
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