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Programs assist the proportion of Ethiopian students in higher education

In recent years, the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation has been trying to help students from the Ethiopian community integrate into prestigious academic tracks regardless of their psychometric score.

In recent weeks, members of the Ethiopian community have been protesting across the country following the death of Solomon Tekah. Their claims of deprivation and a sense of persecution are now being validated in the data released this week by the Central Bureau of Statistics [CBS]. According to the data, more than half, 53%, have experienced some discrimination in the past year.

The plight of the community is nothing new, especially when it comes to education. Members of the Ethiopian community make up less than 2% of the Israeli population. In 2017, the percentage of high school graduates who met the university's threshold requirements was 39.7%, compared to 68.6% of all students in Israel. Another worrying figure reveals that a decade ago, only about a fifth of Ethiopian 12th-grade students began attending higher education institutions, compared with 43.9% among other 12th-grade students in the same class.

On the other hand, it should be emphasized that despite these figures, the number of Ethiopian students in higher education institutions has been on the rise in recent years. Between 2012 and 2018, that number jumped from 2,372 students to 3,291. Nevertheless, it should be kept in mind that the numbers are still low, and the percentage of the community's total student population is only 1.2%.

The 'Feuerstein in Academia' program at the Edmond de Rothschild Academy is trying to improve this percentage. The main points of the program are based on an alternative diagnostic model for the psychometric examination, which examines the candidate's learning potential and allows him to integrate into prestigious academic study programs - regardless of the psychometric grade. Over the past nine years, since the program came into operation, 332 students have taken part - 267 of whom are Ethiopian.

According to CBS data, about 22% of students drop out of higher education among Israeli society, while among Ethiopian immigrants - that number rises to 33%. In an attempt to reduce these percentages, together with the Feuerstein program, the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation also joins the "Adams Program" of the Future Leaders Association of the David Foundation, which works to raise the proportion of Ethiopian-born students in the fields of engineering and science in leading academic institutions.

Eilil Amir Kasif, director of higher education extraction at the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation, explains that for young Ethiopian young people, the gaps in predicting success in alternative diagnosis with regard to the psychometric exam are the highest. 

She said the diagnosis is also used today by academic institutions to diagnose candidates from other populations with psychometric barriers, such as haredim and Arabs. Towards the next school year, she emphasizes, these two programs will strive for more academic institutions to adopt the alternative exam - "with the aim of reaching as many young people as possible, and first of all Ethiopian immigrants."

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