GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The Palestinian Al-Azhar Institute, founded in 1955, is reeling from a financial crisis that could close it down. The institute has seen a 50% drop in student enrollment, from 2,000 students in the 1990s to 1,000 today.
The institute was one of the first Palestinian educational institutions in the Gaza Strip to offer religious and academic education concurrently. It provides classes from elementary to university levels and abides by the same educational policies, terms of acceptance, curriculum, examination system and certification process adopted by Al-Azhar in Egypt. The institute offers several specialized religious courses in two preparatory and secondary schools free of charge.