Education and LeisureAnother way of elucidating the impact of education is to examine the relationship between education levels and the use of leisure time. The assumption is that the more varied and numerous leisure activities are, the better the general quality of life. The picture that emerges from the survey data on leisure activities examined, by gender, is as shown in table 5.8.
Table 5.8 Percentage of Palestinians who pursue selected leisure activities by years of education
With regard to having hobbies, enjoying nature and, not surprisingly, reading books, the pattern is the same. Education correlates with increased activity and the net increase is statistically somewhat greater for men than for women. The same holds generally true for a wide range of activities, such as taking educational courses, participation in voluntary societies, sports and so forth. Increased activity for both men and women correlates with educational level, but participation differs between men and women. In contrast to men, women's participation in activities that take place outside the home remains more limited regardless of education.
Religious observance is affected by educational levels, but according to survey results, in a particular manner. On average some 33% of men attend a religious study group, in which religious texts are discussed, at least weekly, but the rate of attendance declines steadily with increasing educational level.However, for the most educated sector of Palestinian men the percentage who attend religious study groups weekly jumps dramatically. While only 27% of those men with 10 to 12 years attend such groups, 43% of those with post-secondary education reportedly attend them. Although more men than women attend these study groups, the pattern of attendance is similar for women. Attendance is most frequent among those women with no education and those who are most highly educated. The same pattern is repeated with reference to mosque attendance. While men attend some 6 times more often than women, for both men and women this form of religious observance is most common among those with least education and those with most.
Interestingly, with increasing education the desire to participate in cultural and leisure activities seems to grow dramatically.While only some 6% of the least educated men and women claimed there were activities which they would like to, but were unable to participate in; more than 65% of the men and women with most education expressed a desire for more leisure activities. The principle constraints listed by men were political reasons (27%), work (24%), lack of facilities (23%), and lack of money (18%). The main constrains listed by women were lack of facilities (24%), restraints imposed by social conventions (21%), and child care (17%). Only 7% of women mentioned political reasons as the main obstacle to participation in leisure activities. In short, a majority of youth and a large majority of the more educated youth express a dissatisfaction with their inability to take part in leisure activities they find meaningful.