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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 11:39 GMT
School Day 24: About Jerusalem-Ramallah link
Composite image of students in Jerusalem and Ramallah

The BBC's Outlook programme linked Palestinian and Israeli students.

Click on the links below to read more about the schools that took part.

Charles E Smith High School of the Arts, Jerusalem

The first thing you hear when you arrive at the gates of the Charles E Smith High School of the Arts is lively music coming from the second floor of the sprawling building.

Students taking part in link-up left to right: Ziv (16), Ya'ara (16), Liron (16), Boaz (16)
Students are expected to dress appropriately for class
The school is nestled behind a shady park in the heart of Jerusalem, just 10 minutes away from the bustling city centre.

There are 540 Israeli students from grade seven to grade 12 with about 30 pupils to a class, and they all share a passion for the arts.

"Art is the backbone of our lives here," explains Danny Bar-Giora, the school's principal. Each student majors in music, theatre, dance, cinema and media, or fine arts and design, in addition to the regular school curriculum leading up to Israeli Bagrut, or matriculation.

The walls of the school are decorated with changing exhibitions of student artwork and the school hosts colourful events several times a year.

Over half the students live in Jerusalem, the rest come from surrounding areas. Those who live further away sometimes travel for hours to get to school but they all think it's worth the effort.

Map showing Ramallah and Jerusalem
About 70% of the funding for the school comes from the Israeli government. A further 30% is covered by parents, although scholarships are awarded to talented students whose families are unable to pay fees.

There is no school uniform, although students are expected to dress appropriately for class.

The laid-back, informal atmosphere prevalent in the school often belies the serious work that is being carried out here.

Mr Bar Giora says that the school strives not only to teach the students a profession but also to enable them to fully realise their potential through meaningful, independent studies.

"But most importantly we teach respect for other people, whoever they are and wherever they live," he says.

The Friends Boys School, Ramallah

This high school, located on a tree-lined street in downtown Ramallah, was founded early last century by the Quaker Society of Friends.

Originally, it was for boys only (hence the name) but today 500 boys and girls study here.

Students taking part in link-up left to right: Sami (16), Mohammed (16), Amal (15), Semma (17), Mazen (16)
Ethics is integral to the school curriculum

The school is a hive of organisation and activity.

Students in mostly regulation blue and grey uniforms bustle about the school from 0800 to 1500 every day except Friday and Sunday, the respective days of rest for the Muslim and Christian students studying here.

The Friends School is a private institution funded 80% by parents and 20% by private donations.

There are up to 28 students in each class and every Monday morning the entire school meets for a minute's silence in the auditorium.

The school is built upon the basic Quaker values of justice, equality, tolerance, peace and non-violent resistance. Ethics is an integral part of the curriculum and students are committed to devoting 150 hours to community service in grades 11 and 12.

Principal Mahmoud Amra says this is vital to the students' personal growth and the complex reality of their lives.

"Our children are taught to be strong, outspoken and to manage in every situation that life may bring them."

Despite the serious tone set by the school, it is not all work and no play. Regular social activities take place throughout the year, including discos, debka dancing and a lively basketball club.

It is also the only school in the entire West Bank that gives students the opportunity to matriculate not just according to the Palestinian Tawiji, but also according to the international baccalaureate and the American SAT.

Last year, an unprecedented number of students were accepted at American universities, including Stanford and Harvard.


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