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Leading Social Justice in Education

The new MAOF Honors Program stimulates student leadership and entrepreneurship and promotes values of equality and shared society.

Launched at the beginning of this academic year, the new initiative nurtures the leadership skills of outstanding students from diverse backgrounds in all parts of Beit Berl College – the Faculty of Education, the Arab Academic Institute of Education, HaMidrasha-Faculty of Arts and the Buber Center for Dialogue Education. Participants probe their identities and dreams, examine pressing issues in Israeli society, and design educational initiatives.

"The gap in opportunities and achievements among the different sectors of Israeli society is growing. We aim to integrate educators who will be the leaders of the future into the public school system and the non-formal education system. These students are outstanding academically and socially and have the skills and experience to lead educational projects; and they see themselves as emissaries of social justice and solidarity," explains Dr. Adi Binhas, head of the MAOF Excellence Program.

The 28 students already led activities for over 200 schoolchildren, during which they experienced many moments of success alongside many challenges. In addition, they completed a course on Inter-Culturalism and Education, took part in workshops on subjects such as racism and leadership, and met with trailblazers from across the spectrum of Israeli society, including Arabs, Haredim and Ethiopian Israelis, who told them inspiring stories about their unique background and how they created opportunities despite their difficulties.

The students launched numerous initiatives, including projects designed to help schoolchildren overcome feelings of loneliness and alienation during Covid-19 and encouraging values of cohesion and solidarity. One project targeted kids who were new at their school or were having trouble studying remotely. In another initiative, MAOF students led a series of encounters at a school in the Arab community, helping kids to get to know one another across the distance created by the pandemic.

In the bilingual Hand in Hand School, which serves both Jewish and Arab children, MAOF students led intensive workshops on different subjects, such as theater, language, art and sports, for children in grades 1-3. In the first part of each day, Arab students from Beit Berl led classes in Arabic for the Jewish children and Jewish students gave classes in Hebrew to the Arab children. Afterwards, everybody participated in a joint activity. In another project, the students focused on improving bilingual skills and communication between the two groups through games, stories, and conversations about the children's daily lives.

Utilizing the diversity in Beit Berl's student body, MAOF trains student leaders to cross boundaries to address social gaps through education.

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