Learning in KKL-JNF House for Youth. Photo: Avi Hayon, KKL-JNF photo archive
“Now that the psychometric examinations have been cancelled, it’s vital for students to do well in matriculation so as to succeed in their personal lives,” explains the project’s director.
The COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the world has shut schoolchildren everywhere up at home for two months without an educational framework, and the routine study and matriculation exam preparations came to a standstill. Now KKL-JNF, in collaboration with the 8200 Alumni Association, is offering to provide private lessons on Zoom for students in Israel’s peripheral regions, to help them make up for lost time and prepare for their upcoming matriculation exams. These tutorial sessions will be launched as a pilot project in a number of communities nationwide that are categorized by KKL-JNF Education and Youth Division’s MAOF Program as belonging the social and geographical periphery. Among them are Mitzpeh Ramon, Yeruham, Sdot Negev, Kiryat Malachi, Har Hevron, Acco, Julis, Tiberias, Beit Shean and Tzfat.
The collaboration began when KKL-JNF got in touch with education departments in the various communities and was given the names of students interested in receiving supplementary lessons on Zoom prior to their matriculation exams. The lessons, which are supervised by graduates of the IDF Intelligence Corps Unit 8200, focus on a variety of subjects, including English, mathematics and physics.
KKL-JNF World Chairman Daniel Atar commented: “Educational collaboration with Unit 8200 has been in place for over three years now. KKL-JNF has decided to invest heavily in education in order to close the gaps – in education especially – between Israel’s northern and southern peripheral regions and the center of the country. Our objective is to give these young people an equal opportunity to succeed and progress independently in life like everyone else. These supplementary lessons have achieved amazing results in past years, and have proved that, when introduced as a pilot scheme, they contribute greatly to the education system. Now we want to expand services in additional communities in accordance with the project’s success.”
Niv Matalon, the project’s coordinator and a graduate of Unit 8200: “We began working on this project right at the start of the COVID-19 crisis so as to recruit as many volunteers as possible. We now have over forty volunteers who have teamed up with teachers and liaison staff through the centers, and we’ve received lists of around 110 students who need help with their studies and matriculation exams. Each volunteer is allocated a student on the basis of need and relevant subjects. During this educational crisis it’s become clear that the volunteers are truly committed and are acting out of a tremendous sense of mission. There can be no doubt that today, and especially in view of the cancellation of the psychometric exam, matriculation results can change the course of a person’s life and play a major role in their success as adults. As universities have changed their entrance requirements to accommodate matriculation scores, these results are now of vital importance to Israel’s schoolchildren.”