How Israel reduced dropout rates among Druze teens
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
The matriculation rate across Israel’s Druze sector rose from 52% to 73% since Yeholot introduced an accelerated learning program for underachievers.
“A” is a physically disabled Druze youth who had failed 11 subjects by the end of junior high school. He lacked both motivation and self-esteem, and his teachers and parents had all but given up on him. Thanks to an innovative educational program implemented in A’s high school, he graduated with a high-honors matriculation certificate and plans to enter the prestigious Technion-Israel Institute of Technology after two years of voluntary national service as a tutor in his former high school, where he is now seen as a role model.
“S” had failed 10 subjects in junior high and was described by his homeroom teacher as having “a tendency towards serious delinquency.” Like A, however, S graduated with a high-honors matriculation certificate and will begin studies in water engineering at Kinneret College after finishing three or more years of army service.
These two young men are part of the Arabic-speaking Druze community of Israel, a distinct insular minority with its own religion, living primarily in the northern periphery of the Galilee and Golan Heights.
“This name reflects our conviction that everyone is able to succeed at school, and that students in the periphery have many abilities that have not been realized yet.”
There are about 2,271 Druze 12th graders in Israeli public schools staffed with Druze principals and teachers. Though many Druze Israelis have attained successful positions in the military and private sectors, the overall low socio-economic level of Druze families is linked to a high dropout rate.
That was the impetus for the Education Ministry to introduce the unique “accelerated learning” approach pioneered by the Yeholot Association, a subsidiary of the Rashi Foundation, in 2009. The resulting dramatic rise in matriculation rates spurred the continuation of the program, now providing 6,000 Druze, Jewish, Arab and Bedouin students from 100 Israeli schools with confidence in their own potential and the tools to reach it.
The Hebrew word yeholot means 'abilities'. “This name reflects our conviction that everyone is able to succeed at school, and that students in the periphery have many abilities that have not been realized yet,” says Yeholot Director Nissim Cohen, who developed the accelerated learning method some 20 years ago.
This article has been republished with permission by www.ISRAEL21c.org. Click here to continue reading.
Abigail Klein Leichman | ISRAEL21C
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