Rosh Hashana 2018
Promoting Science Education: Our Academic Center for Youth

In recent years there has been a significant drop in the number of science and technology students in Israeli high schools and a decline in their achievements in national and international examinations. In the northern periphery of Israel, there is a much more dramatic need to increase access to higher education among students, with an emphasis on encouraging them to choose the fields of science and technology. Unfortunately, there is a noticeable lack of science teachers and appropriately equipped labs in the northern periphery, which leads to a constantly growing gap between the center of the country and the periphery.

Based on these circumstances, Zefat Academic College has opened an Academic Center for Youth in order to make excellence inclusive and fully accessible to youth of all ages. The College believes that access to higher education should be based on merit, regardless of economic status and cultural, ethnic or national origins.

The Academic Center for Youth is a natural outcome of the College's vision: to expand access to higher education among the pupils of Zefat and the entire Galilee. The Center offers programs designed to develop the pupils' potential for research, science and technology, with an emphasis on the health professions.

The Center promotes high-level scientific education in the Galilee, strengthening the region and its diverse population. Working closely with local schools and educational institutions, the Center creates experiential programs for children and youth that foster intellectual curiosity and a love for science. Participants come to the Center's programs from across the Galilee and from all of its diverse communities and backgrounds: Jewish, Muslim, and Druze, religious and secular, urban and rural. Pupils use scientific materials and equipment that are not available at their schools, and where activities are led by research scientists trained to work with youth.

As part of the project, the Center exposes students to scientific language and encourages gradual progress into the world of inquiry, questions and curiosity. The target age of the pupils is from kindergarten through K12. The proposed study and enrichment program is adapted for each age group and is synchronized with local and regional schools as well as the education departments of the local authorities.

 The program combines study and enrichment within the schools of the pupils with instructors who are well trained in the field of study and are familiar with research activities and experienced in college laboratories.  The main goal of the Center is to establish a multi-year program from kindergarten to K12 that creates a continuum in the field of scientific study and research, from the development of curiosity to the research stage, from a comprehensive exposure of all elementary children to scientific experiments.

This innovative project is an essential element of the College’s long-term investment in the community, and thus a vital part of the College's impact on the region. We firmly believe that the exposure of children, youth and their parents to the world of science, inquiry, questions and curiosity may, over the years, significantly increase the number of residents of the periphery in higher education in Israel in general and in Zefat in particular.