Relations between schools and The Ministry of Education.


The Ministry of Education holds overarching responsibility for the education system in Israel: it provides both material and human resources, sets educational goals, and designs curricula and in-service activities for teachers. The Ministry of Education is also responsible for hiring teachers. principals, and other teaching staff

The most salient characteristic of the relations between the Education Ministry and the Arab schools is that they are between a majority and a minority. In this sense, this relationship is no different from the others between the state apparatus governed by a Jewish majority and the Arab community, which constitutes a minority. It is a relationship between the ruling majority, with its institutions and resources, and a weak and marginal minority, which receives whatever the majority deigns to grant it. Here we will not take up the overall problem of unequal resource allocation between the Jewish and Arab sectors, but rather focus on the potential for local influence, including that of parents and of the Arab leadership, on national decisions pertaining to education in the Arab sector.

In most of our interviews, the respondents spoke of the impotence of everyone involved in education at the local level: inspectors, Arab officials in the Ministry of Education, and even the director of Arab education. It was clear, for example, that the mayors whom we interviewed correlated the low level of education in the Arab sector with the unequal and unilateral policy of the Ministry of Education, which is based on the assumption that Israel has no reason to "make intellectuals out of the Arabs," as the mayor of Bustan expressed it. According to the mayor of al-Zeitun, policymakers in the central establishment seem to be afraid of an improvement in the Arabs' level of education, "...which might present them with a serious challenge that would make it harder for them to control us, as they have done successfully to date...."

In the opinion of another respondent, a senior educator, It's true that things are better today, in comparison with past policies of the Ministry of Education concerning the Arab sector: some of the curricula have been revised, there are more in-service activities for teachers, more resources, more classrooms, and so on, especially in the past few years. But the guideline of the policy has remained intact. It is still centralized and unilateral. Everything is decided by dictatorial means, in which all Arab officials -- the supervisor of Arab education. the various inspectors, the divisional directors, school principals, and even the rank-and-file teacher -- are in the best case pawns manipulated by directives from above. They have no...

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