Galilee Foundation in Context: Lots accomplished, lots more to accomplish - Galilee Foundation

Galilee Foundation in Context: Lots accomplished, lots more to accomplish

While degrees in liberal art subjects offer much cultural enrichment and economic opportunity in a wide range of fields, science, technology, engineering and maths-based degrees are considered important keys to prosperous employment in a startup nation such as Israel. Such graduates among Palestinians  are also important to the potential economic prosperity of the Palestinian community inside Israel. They are equally important to developing economic independence for Palestinians in the oPt, who are otherwise viewed by Israel as a source of cheap labour.

Israelis spend many years in school which gets them listed as third most educated country in the world, but their education is also considered poor, quantity over quality, which means they don’t reap as much benefit economically as they should from their time spent in school. The Ultra-Orthodox do not study much maths or science. Israelis on average do worse compared to the rest of the OECD countries in their PISA assessments due to outdated teaching methods. The Palestinian citizens do badly in their  PISA scores compared to Jewish Israelis due to underinvestment in their schools and teachers compared to the Jewish schools. This makes it harder for them to qualify for entry to higher education in technical subjects.

Israel has very high disparities in wealth of its population and Palestinian citizens fare very badly,

Poor education does not just contribute to the poverty statistics of the Palestinian citizens of Israel. It also contributes to poorer health outcomes. The Arab population of Israel has a lower life expectancy than the Jewish population. Significant effects of educational level on all-cause and cause specific mortality, particularly respiratory diseases, infectious diseases, diabetes and homicide have been found.  Research reports highlight the importance of increasing the educational level of the population.

Poverty and discrimination have also contributed to the crime wave.

The police attribute crime levels to the Palestinian community’s high unemployment among young people, while rights groups say bigger issues, such as state discrimination against Palestinian communities, remain at play. A lack of land and banking services have pushed some to the informal economy, including drug dealing and money laundering,.

Current employment patterns among Palestinians in Israel show a disproportionate number in low skilled, low paid jobs

Since 2012 when Palestinian citizens of Israel were allocated less than 7% of the state budget, there has been an increase in spending on the Palestinian community. The poverty statistics, low participation in the workforce, and a low contribution to economic growth in Israel, led the government to plan and approve a programme (922 programme) costing 15 billion ILS over a five-year period, for advancement and development of Israeli Palestinian society. Nevertheless the gaps remain wide although it has led to significant improvements, according to figures published by Israel’s Higher Council for Education in 2019 

Data For Years 2011 to 2017

Challenges remain

“If you want to effect social change, it’s not enough for three percent of high-tech people to be Arabs working at Intel and Microsoft. You need entrepreneurs who will found companies in the places they came from and create employment there. Every engineer at such a company produces three to five support jobs, from marketing personnel to the company’s suppliers. We need local success stories to create more daring and more entrepreneurship. Jobs at corporations are important, but we also need entrepreneurs who will found companies in the periphery.”

“Voices in Arab society say, and justly so, that society also needs sociologists, philosophers, poets, that society needs an intellectual elite.”

Other studies suggest that, in in order to further analyze the data regarding Palestinian Arab enrollment in higher education, we must examine the percentage of Palestinian Arab students between the ages of 20-24 relative to the total number of Palestinian Arabs of the same gender and age group. Such an analysis indicates that the percentage of Palestinian Arab students remains significantly lower than that of the Jewish students.

The data show that the gap between the two communities remains high and has increased over the years, with the gap between young Palestinian Arab women and young Jewish women being 23% in 2000, 30% in 2009, and 27.9% in 2018. The gap between young Palestinian Arab men and young Jewish men was 25.4% in 2000, 35.4% in 2009 and 14% in 2018.

The Future

Ignoring Arab education imperils Israel’s future

“A quarter of the first-grade children in Israeli schools are not Jewish. In less polite terms, they are Arab (Palestinian) children.”

Arab (Palestinian) children continue to lag far behind the rest of Israel, ensuring that without more help they will struggle to become educated citizens finding high-paying, high-skilled, productive jobs that contribute not only to Palestinian society’s growth and prosperity but also to Israel’s. It is in the interests of all that Palestinian access to education inside Israel is enhanced. This is where the Galilee Foundation’s higher education scholarship program comes in, to break the cycle of marginalisation and poverty and empower Palestinian citizens through education.           

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