Education is compulsory for nine years. The district has 75 public schools and 19 private schools. These educational institutions are operated by either the government, private organizations (mainly churches), and the UNRWA. In Bethlehem private schools are dominant.
After completing 12 years of school and passing the Tawjihi examination, students may attend a university in their country or abroad.
Bethlehem University is one of the leading institutions for higher education in Palestine. It was founded in 1973, with the administrative cooperation of the De La Salle Brothers and the Vatican. It was established after the visit of Pope Paul VI to the Holy Land in 1964. During this visit, his holiness called for the foundation of new institutions to improve the quality of life for the people of the area. One of the specific priorities cited was a university for young Palestinians in their homeland. Bethlehem University offers Baccalaureate degrees in accounting, Arabic, biology, business administration, chemistry, elementary education, English, mathematics, nursing, physics, physiotherapy, sociology and social work. Diplomas are granted in clinical supervision, elementary education, hotel management, midwifery, pilgrim tour guiding, pre-school education, religious education, secondary education, tourism and travel agency management.
The main building of the University, constructed in 1893, houses the general administrative offices and most of the Faculty of Arts. A chapel annex was built in 1907. The Library, dedicated in 1978, houses about 60,000 volumes and includes a special collection of microfiche and microfilm on the Middle East, and a Palestinian collection.
The Science Building, opened in 1980, contains laboratories and classrooms and a computer center. The Social and Cultural Center, dedicated in 1991, contains a cafeteria, an assembly hall, offices and rooms for art, music, physical fitness and athletics. A residence for the Christian Brothers is on campus. The Mar Andrea Women's Hostel located off-campus, was completed in 1979; on the same property is a convent to house religious women who teach at the University.
Bethlehem University has grown from an initial enrollment of 78 students to some 2200, well over half of whom are women. The University has been frequently closed down by the Israeli authorities after demonstrations against the occupation. It is a short walk up the hill from Hebron road.
Al-Quds Open University
Established in 1985, the University applies an Open and Distance Learning system. The language of study is Arabic and the University applies a credit hour system where the scholastic year consists of two main semesters and a summer session. Every student may register between two and twenty one credit hours per semester. The University awards the first university degree in Agriculture, Social and Family Development, Applied Science and Technology, Management & Enterpreneurship and Education.
Bethlehem Bible College
Founded in 1979, the Bible College provides training for Palestinians and other Christians wanting to become teachers, pastors, educators, church workers, evangelists, tour guides and administrators. The tour guide program helps train and provide licensed and qualified guides in anticipation of the increasing influx of tourists. The classes are conducted in Arabic. The summer Foreign Students Studies Program is conducted in English. The college accepts students from all denominations and offers courses by an outstanding faculty who combine high academic standards and deep spiritual commitment. Community Education Courses are offered for adults in the Bethlehem area.
The International Center of Bethlehem
The International Center is a church-related organization. Its work is directed towards building a civil society and a sustainable economic development, and taking the Palestinian cultural heritage into consideration. The main programs are: women's studies, international relations, adult education, alternative tourism and German-Palestinian Exchange. The Center offers modern facilities that are ideal for holding seminars, lectures, and conferences.
Adjacent to the center is the Abu Gubran Guest House, which offers the opportunity to experience and enjoy the finest Arabic hospitality and to become acquainted with the beliefs and culture of the people of the Holy Land. Through the International Center of Bethlehem and the Abu-Gubran Guest House, people of all ages and cultures can participate in such cultural activities as the arts, music and literature, as well as the German and Arabic language courses.
Al-Lika' Center for Heritage & Religious Studies in the Holy Land
The Center is located at the entrance of Bethlehem, near Rachel's Tomb. It is a place of research and study on the religious traditions and institutions of the people of the Holy Land and the region. The program includes annual conferences, interfaith dialogues, Palestinian contextualized theology in the Holy Land, international activities and the publication of al-Lika' Journal, a newsletter, books and occasional papers.
Tantur is the Arabic term for hilltop. A chapel and a hospital, supported by the Latin Order of St. John, were seen on the hilltop from 1846 until 1964. After the Pope's 1964 pilgrimage to the Holy Land, the Vatican purchased the Tantur terrain, then leased it to an ecumenical board to establish an international ecumenical institute for theological research and pastoral studies. The primary concern of Tantur continues to be the promotion of inter-confessional and intercultural dialogue through advanced study and research. Resident junior and senior scholars do independent research or work with others on a major theme in biblical, historical, liturgical and theological studies. The Institute houses a large and impressive library of 75.000 vols. and a Biblical Garden.
List of Libraries in Bethlehem
1. Bethlehem University Library
Frères Street, P.O.B. 9,
Tel: 741243, Fax: 744440
Hours: Mon-Fri: 8.00-16.00
Open to the public on request. 60,000 vols. Academic collection, mainly in Arabic and English. Special collections include a Palestinian division and an audio-visual center.
2. Bethlehem Bible College
Hebron Road, P.O.B. 127
Hours: Mon-Fri 8.00-16.00
Sat: 8.00-12.00. 15,000 vols. Christian books, Arabic, English. Tel: 741190, Fax: 743278
3. Pontifical Mission Library
Frères Street (Beside Bethlehem University). Hours: Mon-Fri: 9:00-12:00, 1:30-16:30. 30,000 vols. General collection in Arabic, English, French, Spanish. Videotheque (also in Arabic). Tel: 743077, Fax: 743077.
4. Studio Teologico Salesiano ''S. Paolo”
Hours: Mon-Sat: 8.00-12.00, 14.30-18.30. 6,000 vols.
Philosophical, theological, biblical material etc. Italian, French, English, Arabic, 1000 scientific periodicals. Tel: 742605,
5. Latin Patriarchate Seminary Library.
Open to the public on request. 30,000 vols. Collection in Arabic, French, English and Italian. Philosophical and theological material. Tel: 742612, 742885.
6. The Ecumenical Institute for Theological Studies.
Hours: 8:00-12:00 a.m.,
List of Educational Institutions:
1. Bethlehem University:
Tel: 274 1241/2,3, Fax: 274 4440
2. Bethlehem Bible college:
Tel: 274 1190, Fax: 274 3278.
3. The International Center of Bethlehem
Tel: 277 0047, Fax: 277 0048.
4. Tantur Ecumenical Institute
Tel: 676 0911, Fax: 6760914
5. The Pontifical Mission Library:
Tel: 274 3077
6. The Open University:
Tel: 274 7387, Fax: 274 7388
7. The Salisian Industrial College:
Tel: 274 2421
8. Al-Lika' Center :
Telfax: 274 1639
Governmental Schools in Bethlehem:
1-Bethlehem Secondary School for Boys
2-Bethlehem Secondary School for Girls
3-Bethlehem Preparatory School for Boys
4-Bethlehem Prepartory School for Girls
5-Al-Mahd Elementary School
6-Al-Mahd Preparatory School
1-Syrian Catholic School,
Manger Street. P.O.B. 199, Tel: 742497, Fax: 740334, Kg.
2-Terra Sancta High School,
P.O.B. 92, Tel: 742237, Fax: 6470314, Kg. El. Prep. Sec.
3-College des Frères,
Abdel Nasser Street, P.O.B. 261, Tel: 743244, Fax: 743244, Kg. El. Prep, Sec.
4-Don Bosco Salesian Technical School,
Paul VI Street. P.O.B. 41, Tel: 742421, Fax: 747162, Technical, Secondary
5-Terra Santa Girls’ School,
Star Street, P.O.B. 65, Tel: 742680, Kg, El, Prep. Sec.
6-Rosary Sisters’ School,
Star Street, Tel: 742682, Kg. El.
P.O.B. 1010, Tel: 744757, Kg.
8-Evangelical Lutheran School, Dar al-Kalimah,
P.O.B. 73, Tel: 744245, Fax: 744245, Kg. El. Prep.
9- Iftah School
10- Zuhur Filistin School
11- Salah ad-Din School
12- Al-Ikha’ al-Islami School
13- Al-Ibrahimyah Society School
14-Islamic Society School
15- Al-Malha Islamic School
16- S.0.S School
1-Latin Patriarchate School
P.0.B. 22, Tel: 6472278, Kg. El. Prep.
2-Greek Catholic Patriarchal School,
P.O.B. 63, Bishop Abu Sa’ada Street, Tel: 6472424, Fax: 742424, Kg. El. Prep. Sec.
3-Evangelical Lutheran School,
P.O.B. 55, Tel: 6472720, Fax: 6472204, Kg. El. Prep. Sec.
4-Greek Orthodox Secondary School.
Tel: 647 2042, Kg. El. Prep. Sec.
5- The Islamic Society School.
1-Latin Patriarchate School,
P.O.B. 3, Tel: 742624, Fax: 742612, Kg. El. Prep. Sec.
2-Ev. Lutheran School Talitha Kumi,
P.O.B. 7, Talitha Kumi Street,
Tel: 741247, Fax: 741847,
3-Hope Secondary School,
P.O.B. 5, Tel: 742268, Fax: 744332, Prep. Sec.