Israel hopes to improve student achievement across the country
London – Naeem Arzu
Arab teachers are to be integrated into Jewish schools in Israel to teach science, maths, English and Arabic.
The Israeli Education Ministry aims to employ around 500 teachers
over the next five years as part of a rolling programme to fill a shortage of teachers for core subjects.
One hundred newly qualified Arab-Israeli teachers are now being actively recruited for the next semester, following an announcement last month by Israeli Minister of Education and Knesset Member, Rabbi Shai Piron, to improve student achievement across the country.
The 1.64 million US dollar programme will see Arabic and Jewish teachers working alongside one and another, which also seeks to improve relations between Israel’s Arabic and Jewish citizens.
According to Dr Khaled Abu Asbah director of the Masar Institute for Educational Research, Planning and Counselling, there are around 7,000 newly qualified Arabic teachers seeking employment, many of whom hold honorary degrees.
According to research conducted by the Achva Teacher Training College in 2006-2007 - which looked at 11 Jewish elementary schools, 29 classes, 703 Jewish-Israeli students and 10 Arab-Israeli teachers teaching Merchavim’s “Let’s Talk Arabic\" curriculum - found that students taught by Arab teachers developed a more positive attitude towards Israeli-Arabic communities.
Furthermore, the report found by integrating Arabic citizens into positions of authority strengthened their sense of civic worth.
With a state deficit of 40 billion shekel (11 billion US dollars), the Israeli government is under pressure to cut the education budget. Experts believe the initiative will make huge savings for Israel tax payers, which will come in part from savings on teacher re-training programmes.
Officials said the programme will operate a policy of zero-tolerance on expressions of racism and discrimination that threaten the education of Israeli children.