Thursday, April 9, 2009

Israel’s Arab students are crossing to Jordan

By Jonathan Cook

"NAZARETH // Obstacles to Israel’s Arab minority participating in higher education have resulted in a record number of Arab students taking up places at universities in neighbouring Jordan, a new report reveals. Figures compiled by Dirasat, a Nazareth-based organisation monitoring education issues, show 5,400 Arab students from Israel are at Jordanian universitieshalf the number of Arabs studying in Israel itself.

Despite the fact that most Israeli Arab students in Jordan interviewed by the researchers expressed a preference to attend university in Israel, the numbers heading to Jordan have grown four-fold since 2004.

College-age Arabs, representing nearly one-quarter of their age group in Israel, are heavily under-represented in Israeli higher education, at about eight per cent of the student intake, according to official statistics. Of those Israelis who pass their matriculation exams, three times as many Jews as Arabs are accepted into Israeli universities......

Years of demands for the establishment of a university, teaching in Arabic, in Israel’s largest Arab city, Nazareth, said Dr Jabareen, had been blocked by successive governments.

Dr Arar noted that the phenomenon of Arab citizens being forced to study abroad because of problems accessing higher education was not new. “From the 1960s onwards the Israeli Communist Party offered scholarships to universities in the Soviet bloc because many of the brightest Arab students were denied places in Israel. As a result, many of our current leaders were educated in Eastern Europe.”"

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