Programs & Activities:
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.
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
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.
Coping with Emotional Barriers in the Process
of Registration for Higher Education – These workshops
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
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.
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
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
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.