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Programs & Activities:


Information and counseling - One of the main factors leading to low rates of Bedouin enrollment in higher education institutions and low rates of participation in the work force is the lack of information and counseling provided specially for this group. Many high school students interested in academic studies and wish to obtain higher education. However, lack of knowledge regarding the different institutions available, the various programs in each institution, as well as the registration and admission process prevent them from achieving this goal.

Another dominant phenomenon familiar amongst Bedouin students is the fact that more than one third of them change their major or dropped out after the first year, as opposed to 12 percent of Jewish students. This factor indicates a severe problem in the process of choosing a suitable area of studies with respect to their individual abilities and interests, a selection which is often done of irrelevant considerations.

Similarly, decisions about suitable fields of work after high school demand knowledge and skills that may not be available to Bedouin youth. Despite the best of intentions, families that suffer from chronic unemployment are unable to provide their children with the information and support that they may need in order to succeed in overcoming the many barriers.


The Annual Higher Education Fair Representatives of various institutions of higher learning present their programs at a one day fair in Beersheva or one of the Bedouin villages. Information will be available about specific academic programs, admissions requirements, registration information, and scholarships. Following the informational segment, panel discussions and workshops will be conducted about pertinent issues relating to higher education. This event will be open to all Bedouin twelfth grade students as well as high school graduates interested in pursuing their education. Due to the expected large number of participants, the fair will be held on two consecutive days in late December. 


Workshops about Coping with Emotional Barriers in the Process of Registration for Higher Education These workshops are the result of understanding that despite their desire to pursue post-secondary education many applicants experience overwhelming fears and mixed emotions about this transition. The purpose of these workshops will be to assist applicants in addressing these concerns prior to beginning their studies and thus, optimizing their chances of success. These workshops will be conducted by a specially trained social worker and will include approximately 20 participants.


The Learning Skills Course The goal of this course is to provide applicants with requisite learning skills needed to succeed in all institutions of higher learning, and thereby, bridge academic gaps between Bedouin students and their non-Bedouin counterparts. The ten week course will be implemented by an expert facilitator from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and will include approximately 20 participants. Topics addressed include: effective study techniques for attention deficit disorder, the improvement of individual study skills and group work, and the development of positive self esteem through the acceptance of personal responsibility for academic success.


Academic Tours of Colleges and Universities in the Negev High school students visit various colleges and universities in the Negev and meet with the institutions' registrars and with students who are currently enrolled. The purpose of these tours is two fold: the acquisition of information and the alleviation of uncertainties through personal conversations of those who "walked before them". 


The Summer Preparatory Workshop for Higher Education This two week summer workshop is geared to tenth and eleventh graders in order to introduce them to the world of higher education. The program is dynamic and interactive. Students participate in various lectures and workshops about higher education opportunities, visit local colleges and universities, take part in a community action workshop and learn computer and internet skills. The first such seminar was conducted in July-August 2005 in Rahat.


An Empowerment Workshop for Young Bedouin Women Commencing their Post-Secondary Education This six meeting workshop is geared to assist young Bedouin women cope with their unique concerns regarding the balancing of traditional roles and the demands of higher education. The workshop is conducted by a social worker and is open to 20 participants. Activities include meetings with lecturers, tours of colleges and universities and lectures about relevant topics. The first such workshop was conducted in Rahat in spring 2005.


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Future Programs:


Grade 13 The Vocational Option The establishment of a vocational thirteenth grade in Bedouin high schools would provide the vast majority of students that do not continue on to institutions of higher learning with a viable option to acquire a vocation while still in school. Upon successful completion of this program, graduates will receive a certificate in one of the various vocations taught that will enable them to apply to one of the technical/education colleges or alternatively, access promising employment.

In each school a curriculum offering a number of vocational options will be constructed based on the particular needs of the community. For instance, vocations such as Arabic speaking medical secretaries, teachers' aides, pre-school workers, technicians, electricians, or accountants' assistants may be underrepresented in the region or community. Following completion of twelfth grade, students can return to school and continue during this vocational year. Counseling regarding career choices will take place prior to high school graduation.

The program will be scheduled for the afternoon and evening hours so that the building is available. During the year long program, in addition to learning a new vocation, students will participate in various seminars, workshops and courses aimed at easing their transition into the workforce. Specifically, the program will include a mentoring component with established professionals/businesspeople, empowerment workshops, resume and cover letter writing courses, mock interviews, and an internship component.  


"Choosing my Profession" A Workshop: More than three quarters of the young Bedouin men and women who despite hardships, graduate from high school are unable to continue their studies and much look for work. Choosing a career or vocation that is suitable to the particular individual's likes and dislikes, to his or her skills and abilities, to his or her familial situation and needs is never an easy feat. However, to many of these young people, who are barely eighteen years old and many have lived sheltered lives in protective familial settings, choosing a vocation and finding a job are seemingly impossible tasks.

The purpose of this program is to develop a series of workshops to be presented to students while still in high school and aimed exposing them to professional life and assisting them in tackle the many issues involved in choosing an appropriate vocation.

The workshops will run for six weeks by professional facilitators trained by the Psychological and Vocational Services of the Unemployment Administration and the Information and Counseling Center for Higher Education of the Negev.

The workshops' content will be developed jointly by the two involved groups and will focus on the importance of the process of choosing an appropriate vocation, identification of internal and external factors influencing choices, coping with cultural conflicts and other relevant issues.

The expected impact of this project is extensive, affecting many facets of the lives of the Bedouin men and women who are coming of age and will be responsible for the development of their communities and active players in the Negev of tomorrow. The comprehensive nature of this multi-faceted project contends with the entire spectrum of young Bedouin women and men currently studying in high school, both those that may continue to institutions of post-secondary education and those that will join the workforce upon completion of high school. The program's ultimate aim is to alleviate inequalities and provide a secure and better future for today's young adults, who will ultimately be the parents of tomorrow's children.  It is our further hope that this project will serve as a model for the implementation of similar projects of underserved populations in Israel and throughout the world.




The need

Target Population




Created by Gehad Alafenish

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