Programs & ActivitiesNon-Jewish Sector

Non-Jewish Sector

Education in the Arab Sector

As elsewhere in the developed world, education should be the key to economic and social mobility for Israel's Arab citizens. However, the country invests shockingly few resources in educating Arab and Bedouin children in particular. Israeli Arab children as a whole are severely discriminated against educationally, with each child receiving only one quarter of the budget allocated to Jewish children. In addition, Arab and Bedouin families often live far from schools and educational enrichment centers, and have economic difficulties, which move them to take their children out of school and have them contribute to the family income instead. These cultural, psychological, social and economic barriers have contributed to the extremely low percentage of students who receive matriculation certificates. Of these students, even less achieve matriculation grades sufficient for acceptance to University.

Kat Gan

Kat Gan is an innovative and successful program that aims to ease Arab mothers' and children's entry into the Israeli economy and educational system: the Kat-Gan and Family Guidance Program. This vital program, which currently operates in 25 community centers, offers Arab families the opportunity to enroll their 2- to 3-year old children in a three day per week, four hour per day educational framework that is tailored to suit immigrant children's special needs and circumstances. This framework both prepares the children to attend full-week pre-kindergarten programs and frees their mothers to seek full- or part-time employment.

PELE

"PELE" is a holistic and comprehensive educational enrichment program conducted after school hours in community centers all over Israel, for children in elementary through high school. PELE works closely and in full coordination with school principals, teaching staff, school counselors and parents, providing each student with a program tailored to his or her particular needs and background. To date, PELE has prevented thousands of Israeli students from dropping out of school. Approximately 87 percent of PELE participants who have taken Bagrut examinations have passed them. Where PELE has worked with students on all of their academic subjects, about 70 percent have received full Bagrut certificates.

Budding Scientists

Budding Scientists, an enrichment program established in partnership with "Daroma Ein HaNegev," prepares Bedouin high schools students to enter the science fields in institutions of higher education. Amongst the Bedouin community, the high school dropout rate (40 percent) is three times that of Israel's Arab population as a whole, and only 28 percent of Bedouin students pass the matriculation examinations necessary to continue on to higher education.  In response, Budding Scientists aims to create a cadre of young Bedouin leaders who excel academically and who are agents of social change in their communities.

The program, currently operating in two Bedouin high schools, provides intensive instruction in mathematics, science, English and Hebrew grammar and composition over a three-year period. Budding Scientists aims to prepare them both for the matriculation examinations in these subjects and for the university-entry psychometric exam, bringing them to the level of achievement that is necessary for acceptance into science and technological faculties. Budding Scientists also has a social leadership component, which aims to help the students lead their community toward a better future.

Download file: Budding Scientists Developing Academic Excellence in Bedouin High School Students

Arab Children with Special Needs – Tragically Left Behind

One of the greatest challenges facing any society is providing children with cognitive or physical disabilities with medical, educational and rehabilitative services they need in order to function physically and socially despite their limitations. For the Arab citizens of Israel, this challenge is multiplied by the relative lack of these services as compared to those available to the Jewish population. Arab communities lack adequate access to resources for early detection and diagnosis, professional and paramedical staff, information for the disabled and their families, legal counseling and advocacy, counseling and training for parents, and leisure services for the disabled and their families. In addition, parent awareness, advocacy and self-help are at very low levels; indeed, stigmas prevail, and Arab families tend to "hide" their special needs relatives from the public eye. As a result, children who could be helped to realize their full potential are tragically left behind.

The Israel Association of Community Centers (IACC) has tackled this serious problem with a cost-effective, holistic and integrated range of programs that combine its own professional, volunteer and parent training, service provision, and information and counseling services with coordination between and streamlining of existing services. By maximizing the effectiveness of existing services as well as expanding them to new communities through this vital project, the IACC is reaching ever-greater numbers of Arab special needs children and their families. Current programs include:

Shiluvim

This program aims to integrate developmentally delayed children with their normative peers. Shiluvim combines paramedical services with after-school educational programs and leisure activities that are available to all neighborhood children. Each program offers three hours of guided activity twice a week to 15-20 children with special needs and their parents. In the context of the program, the IACC trains early childhood professionals and para-professionals to work with special needs children in the framework of their work.

Access to Shiluvim is achieved via multiple developmental activities offered within existing enrichment centers. Thus, existing frameworks are utilized to combine paramedical services with regular educational programs, offered within the context of formal, normative frameworks. This is done with the understanding that educational methods, enrichment, exercises assisted by modern electronic technologies, integration and normalization increase the performance and achievement levels of children with special needs. The program introduces and involves parents through activism under the direction of professionals.

Child Development Centers

The IACC's Child Development Centers pool community resources as well as offer independent services providing early detection, professional remedial services, and parent training and counseling. The Centers serve children from birth to the age of six, and their parents. They provide therapy for the child's sensory, motor, linguistic, cognitive, emotional, mental and social development. Parents are encouraged to become proud partners in their children's development. The center projects a positive and caring view of the child, and help their families become proud partners rather than shamed parents.


Information and Counseling Center

A large number of families in the Arab sector raising a child with special needs do not have easy access to information or counseling that would introduce them to the available options and frameworks for their child. In addition, shame and stigma prevent them from seeking adequate professional help, prolonging the hardship and helplessness of these families.

The IACC seeks to establish information centers that will provide information and counseling for parents of children with special needs. Through parent and family empowerment, it aims to expand and improve the services for Arab children with special needs.