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Strangers in a Strange Land: The Education of Arabs in Israel - Essay Example

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Around the world, one of the highest priorities for most governments is the education of children. Education is a predictor of future vocational success and prosperity, as well as of stability and tolerance in attitudes. One of the most unstable countries in the world, as far as political stability, is the nation of Israel…
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Strangers in a Strange Land: The Education of Arabs in Israel
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Download file to see previous pages Arab and Jewish children attend, in many cases, the same schools and are taught using the same curriculum. A key area of concern over the past fifty years has been the availability of quality education to the Arabic minority in Israeli schools.
Sami Mar'i's Arab Education in Israel considers many of the issues that come into play. As a religious and ethnic minority - a status most unusual throughout most of the developed world - Arab children can be said to face two forms of discrimination, with significant results as far as socioeconomic status, employment possibilities, and political involvement are concerned (Mar'i 1978, p. 22). Of particular interest are the differences in status between the Jewish towns and the Arab villages; the security checkpoints placed at secondary institutions of education in Israel; and Palestinian nationalism's effects on education (Mar'i 1978, p. 25). In his 1985 essay, Mar'i uses extrapolation of existing trends to forecast the way that Arab children will be treated in Israeli schools without a peace agreement, and then also predicts what changes might take place should a peace agreement be reached (Mar'i 1985, p. 52).
Bekerman and Horenczyk used qualitative methods to analyze one attempt to overcome ethnic struggles within the educational system. ...
iment over a two-year period, the researchers noticed that attitudes were affected in a positive way, but the methods of teaching were made so complex by the bilingual system as to render the benefits questionable in terms of value (Bekerman & Horenczyk 2004, p. 397, Abu-Nimer 2002, p. 18).
Ismail Abu Saad conducted several qualitative and quantitative studies of the Bedouin Arabs, using them as a case study for the effects of discrimination on Arab minorities as a whole. He uses "Bedouin" to refer to all of the nomadic Arab tribes in the Negev desert, even though those tribes have unique ethnic backgrounds. Over time, the Israeli government has restricted the movements of these tribes by confiscating their lands and limiting their migration patterns, forcing many Bedouins to take low-paying jobs (Abu Saad 1991, p. 235). The result, combined with discriminatory educational practices, according to Abu Saad, is a cycle of poverty that has captured the Bedouins. His 1997 article is part of the result of a review of the past fifty years of Bedouin education, but does not follow any particular subgroup of Bedouins through the system. One particular area that interests Abu Saad is the idea that teachers are judged in Israel, in large part, on their ability to control their classrooms (Abu Saad & Hendrix 1993, p. 21). While this may work with Jewish children, there are differences in the Arab culture that make this a problematical pedagogical strategy.
Ironically, Yosef Shavir's research has found that Arab-Israeli men attend college at a higher rate than Israeli-born Jews, perhaps benefiting from their separate educational system: Israeli-born Jews compete with European-born Jews for spots in the same colleges, and often lose out in the tracking system, ending up in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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