Data published on Wednesday by the Education Ministry on the 2011 matriculation results show that there were substantial improvements in many Arab towns. There was a moderate increase across the Arab sector as a whole: 38.2% eligible students (not including east Jerusalem) passed the exam in 2011 compared with 38% in 2010, but there were surprising improvements in certain Arab towns.
The Druze town of Marar, for example, registered an increase of 14% in the number of students eligible for a diploma – with 79.61% completing their matriculation exams successfully. The town of Jassar al Zarka registered the highest increase after eligibility for diplomas went up from 12.5% in 2010 to 37% in 2011. There was a particularly dramatic rise in the number of Bedouin students who passed their matriculation exams. The data show an average increase of 4.6%, though students in the city of Rahat did far better: the number of students who passed their exams rose from 42% to 54.96%, breaking the 50% barrier for the first time.
The ministry’s Bedouin community inspector, Ali Alkarnoi, emphasised the personal approach to education taken in Bedouin communities, saying that “we focused on the weaker children to lead them to succeed and pass matriculation exams ... Today we see the results of our investment over the past three years.” Alkarnoi says narrowing education gaps will open doors for Bedouin children that have previously been closed.