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Four Palestinian high-school friends are heading to California this week to pitch their mobile app about fire prevention to Silicon Valley's tech leaders, after winning a slot in the finals of a worldwide competition among more than 19,000 teenage girls.Palestinian Education Minister Sabri Saidam counts on technology – along with a new emphasis on vocational training – to overhaul Palestinian schools, where many students still learn by rote in crowded classrooms.Last year, unemployment among Palestinian college graduates under the age of 30 reached 56 percent, including 41 percent in the West Bank and 73 percent in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics reported.Saidam said Palestinian schools have received 15,000 computers in the last couple of years.The teens first heard about the competition a few months ago from an IT teacher at their school in a middle-class neighborhood in Nablus, where IT classes are a modest affair, held twice a week, with two students to a computer.
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