Higher-education institutions in the Palestinian territories face multiple challenges in their efforts to advance Palestine’s research capacity, scholars say. While some academics attribute this failure to restrictions imposed by Israel, others point to other reasons.
The task is “very difficult and complex,” Yousef Najajreh, a researcher who studies anti-cancer drugs, said during a recent webinar organised by Scientists for Palestine, an organisation that aims to promote the integration of the Palestinian Territories into the international scientific community.
Najajreh, who is a former dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy at Al-Quds University, added: “We are faced with all sorts of problems, starting from the lack of a culture of teamwork, the lack of financial resources, a shortage of infrastructure, transportation, and difficulties in sending samples abroad. As you know, we are a semi-state and not an independent one.”
Najajreh noted that Palestine has more than 50 higher-education institutions, including 17 private universities. That’s a high number for a country of five million people, he said. Yet despite this, there has been no significant knowledge production or leap in research since the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority, he said.