Haaretz Editorial on Dirasat Report: A civics lesson | | Political and Legal Attacks on the Palestinian-Arab Minority in Israel | | Arab educators in uproar over plan to study Begin and Ben-Gurion - Haaretz, 18.6.12 | | Netanyahu's housing reform ignores Israeli Arab communities, says new research (Haaretz, 29.3.2012) | | Conference Highlights the Importance of Higher Education for Arab-Palestinians | | Housing in Israel: The Unique Situation of Arab-Palestinian Citizens | | Position Paper: Arab Students and Higher Education - Problems and Challenges (Hebrew) | | Sensitive and small-scale (by Avirama Golan) | | Dirasat Releases a Publication on Arab Educationí | | Policy Statement: Liebermanís support for ĎPopulation Exchangeí | | Establishment of an Arab Pedagogic Council | | Old problems, new challenges | | Arabs have no choice but to build illegally | Dirasat Releases a Report on Psychometric Exams | | Study reveals tax collection in Arab cities on the rise 0 | | Dirasat in Focus: Education as a Case Study0 | | Who's afraid of educated Arabs? (Haaretz, 24.7.09): 0
About Dirasat
ŕ—»Ū
עברית



















Background

DIRASATís Overarching Goal

Rationale

Vision Statement

Mission Statement

Goals and Objectives

Strategies and activities

Guiding Principles

Dirasat in Comparative Perspective

List of Board Members

Staff

Establishing group

Recent Activities

Contact Us




Press Releases

Media Reports

Disparities in Socio-Economic Status
Disparities in Education

Disparities in Education (Hebrew)

Educational TV Program on the Arab Minority (Hebrew)
AFTER THE RIFT: New Directions for Government Policy towards the Arab Population in Israel (2000)English | Hebrew
Cancel the Minimum Age Requirements!
- UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities

- UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples


Reports of Human Rights Watch
IDENTITY CRISIS: ISRAEL AND ITS ARAB CITIZENS (ICG, 2004)
Back to Basics: Israelís Arab Minority and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (International Crisis Group, 2012)

-

Old problems, new challenges

Jerusalem Post, Sep. 2, 2009


DR. YOUSEF JABAREEN

 

On the opening week of the school year, amid the already staggering conditions of the Arab education system in Israel - grossly unequal funding, nominal Arab representation on curricular committees, substantial lack of classrooms and often basic facilities or outdated textbooks, all contributing to significantly lower performance and matriculation rates than Jewish pupils - it seems that the new school year and the new education minister are bringing new challenges as well.

 

If in the past Arab students have had to face discrimination in funding, access and quality of education, it appears that the coming era is one of cultural exclusion - or even repression.

 

ALREADY IN mid-July, the Ministry of Education announced that it would ban the use of the term "Nakba" (catastrophe) widely used in the Arab narrative to describe the events that led to the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. Although Arab Palestinians, who comprise 25 percent of schoolchildren in Israel, generally recall a different experience of the war and its consequences in 1948-1949, their lessons at schools will even further ignore their collective history, replaced with the Jewish narrative.

 

This is the case, despite the fact that before the end of her term, former education minister Yuli Tamir appointed a joint team of Arab and Jewish education experts to produce a host of recommendations for a "shared life" program in public schools - one that would foster mutual understanding between Arabs and Jews, coexistence and shared, equal participation in society.

 

Current Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar has frozen the implementation of the recommendations, and instead is pushing for a new "Jewish heritage and culture" program for fourth through ninth grades, which he hopes to bring to all public schools starting in the 2010/11 school year. In the program, Jewish and Arab students alike will learn about the Hebrew calendar, the centrality of Jerusalem in Jewish history, the significance of the flag and national anthem and will be encouraged to enlist in the IDF.

 

What is more, last week Sa'ar proposed a plan under which schools with high rates of student army enlistment will be rewarded financially - and parents too! To be sure, Sa'ar is as aware that no Arab school will qualify for such rewards as he knows of the blatant discrepancy between the budgets allocated to Arab versus Jewish schools.

 

In fact, last summer under Tamir, a joint committee of the Ministry of Education and Arab civil society representatives published findings detailing the exact shortage of funds and human resources in the Arab education system. According to the committee's projections, as we enter the present school year, if action is not taken immediately, Arab schools will continue to lack NIS 500 million in funds for curricular and pedagogical programs; NIS 300m. in rent for Arab kindergartens; 9,236 classrooms; 200 school psychologists and 250 guidance counselors (already there are no guidance counselors in 75% of Arab schools).

 

DESPITE THE bleakness of this picture, however, the good news is that although the challenges are mighty, the solutions are at everyone's fingertips - they just need to be implemented. After all, the "shared life" program, and the joint committee's fully detailed plan and budget for improving the Arab education system simply await the green light from Education Minister Sa'ar.

 

And should the ministry continue to neglect Arab schools, the movement for an independent, professional Arab pedagogical council is growing rapidly among Arab educators, as it becomes increasingly clear that without direct influence over its own education policy, budgets, standards and curricula, the Arab minority will continue to be repressed - both in access to equal opportunity to succeed in life and break the cycle of poverty, and in the ability to fully participate in Israeli society as truly equal citizens.

 

 

The writer is the general director of Dirasat, the Arab Center for Law and Policy, based in Nazareth. He also teaches minority rights at the University of Haifa.





P. O. Box 3190, - Nazareth 16131 - Tel: 972-4-6083333, Fax: 972-4-6083366 - Email: dirasat.aclp@gmail.com