Encouraging Socio-Ethnic Pluralism in Arab High Schools in Israel: Perspective of the Headmasters and Educational Staff

  •  Muhammad Suwaed    


The paper presents the perspective of headmasters and educational staff un a sample of Arab high schools in Galilee, Israel, employing and serving a mixed population comprising Moslem and Christian communities.. The paper describes efforts made by these schools to bring people closer, and examines programs designed for this purpose, and factors involved in these attempts. It also presents and discusses the role of school headmasters and leading staff, their contribution to the cause, and focused on their points of disagreements and their proposals regarding ways to improve the existing situation and promote social pluralism among students. The paper also presents, approaches prevailing in the Ministry of Education and local authorities, and examines educational programs designed by external and internal bodies, and other educational initiatives adopted by the participating schools, to increase tolerance and respect among students. In addition, the paper analyses, goal-directed educational programs proposed and implemented by school headmasters and leading staff, lessons that could be drawn from these exercises and their implementation, and the headmaster’s social status and influence in advancing social changes in the given community. The findings showed significant differences in the perception of situation between majority and minority community representatives in each given village. Furthermore, they clearly indicated that the students were not adequately exposed to each other’s cultures and were significantly influenced by incorrect perceptions and superficial/erroneous interpretations. Thus, it was recommended to introduce intervention programs based on respect for difference, renunciation of enforced uniformity, promotion of maximal freedom of choice in the way of life, and dialog between different cultures.

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