The number of high school physics graduates in the Southern periphery of Israel is lower than the national average. On the other hand, the same geographic area has become a hub for the high-tech industry in recent years, as a consequence of special government incentives. One may assume that this new reality, in which state-of the art laboratories and engineers are situated in close proximity to teachers and schools, could turn into an educational opportunity.One such example is the city of Kiryat Gat, a former development town of approximately 50,000 residents. The city’s schools serve students of highly diverse backgrounds, while absorbing new immigration from Ethiopia and the FSU. In the city’s industrial zone, Intel has invested 3.5 billion USD to create a cutting edge facility of 200,000 square meters with 4,000 employees manufacturing the next generation of computer processors.
Tapping into this opportunity, the newly established Jusidman Science Center for Youth proposes to create a collaborative model which would allow teachers and engineers to join hands in helping physics students learn. The idea is to involve the students in hands-on research, which is an elective element in the curriculum, and to harness engineers on a pro-bono basis for tutoring both the teachers and students, and to open up their laboratories for the students’ experiments.
The Jusidman Center, located at Ben-Gurion University, was very recently formed in partnership between the University, the Jusidman Family Foundation, Rashi Foundation and the government, to increase access to quality science education in the south of Israel. It is headed by Dr. Rachel Knoll, the director of the science center in Yeruham and a member of the Trump Foundation’s Advisory Council. The planned project is envisioned by Knoll and is based on her successful experience, albeit on a smaller scale, in Yeruham.
* The text above shows the grant as approved by the Foundation’s Board of Directors / Grant 117