Evaluation of the Program to Train Outstanding Ethiopian-Israeli Leaders in Education

This program, first implemented in 1999, is geared for Ethiopian-Israelis who are studying education at Israel’s colleges and universities. It is implemented in the framework of the Institute for Educational Development of the Hebrew University by Dr. Shalva Weil, and is funded by the MADAV IX Foundation, a supporting foundation of the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland, which has been a major supporter of the program and the work of Dr. Shalva Weil. Evaluation of the program was made possible through a special grant from the Foundation.

The program has three stated aims:

  1. Create a cadre of young, educated Ethiopian-Israeli leaders who will fill important roles in Israeli society and act as agents between the host and immigrant societies.
  2. Cultivate Ethiopian-Israelis academically, by establishing role models for young people.
  3. Develop a cadre of Ethiopian-Israeli professionals in education, with selected teachers from the Ethiopian community who will study in the different colleges.

The program comprises ten sessions during the year and three weekend encounters.  Activities include lectures by experts, professional site visits, discussions, and social events. Participants are also required to complete certain tasks and to volunteer in the community. Evaluation focused on the program’s contribution to its graduates, and the degree to which graduates have found jobs and are working in the teaching profession, in particular.

The evaluation was based on 33 semi-structured interviews with program graduates. The interviews focused on the graduates’ studies, participation in the program, and integration into employment following graduation.

The following are the study’s principal findings:

  • The program’s main contributions were to the graduates’ personal identity: It reinforced their confidence, made them more aware of their heritage, gave them deeper knowledge of their community, and strengthened their pride.  Some respondents noted that it provided financial support and an enjoyable social experience.
  • No contribution was noted to social integration, coping with studying education, or finding a job.  Nevertheless, some respondents reported using the information and tools they had gained in their work.
  • Two-thirds of the graduates had a teaching certificate.  About one-third of them also had a B.A., mostly in education.  Six percent of them were studying toward an M.A.
  • Sixty-four percent of the graduates had found employment, 57% of them full time.  Most of the women were working part time, while most of the men were working full time.
  • Ninety percent of those who had jobs were working in education, 71% of them in informal education and 38% of them in the formal education system.
  • The graduates claimed that their chief difficulty finding work was a lack of jobs.
  • Most respondents reported wanting to work in education, most of them in formal education.