Tailored Solutions for Israeli Students Displaced from Their Homes

Exploring approaches to ensure continuity in learning.



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In times of crisis, the impact on education can be profound, particularly for students forced to evacuate from their homes. The recent challenges faced by Israeli students who found themselves displaced in the wake of a brutal attack by the Hamas terrorist organization, underscore the need for innovative and flexible education solutions. Israeli educators have risen to the challenge, launching a variety of approaches and initiatives aimed at ensuring continuity in learning for students during such difficult times.

Ad hoc learning environments
According to The Times of Israel some 350 “pop-up schools” have been created around the country following the unprecedented displacement of some 200,000 citizens from their homes as a result of the Israel-Hamas war. Education Ministry figures say that of these there are approximately 52,000 K-12 students.

The historic National Library of Israel (NLI) building in Jerusalem, which has been partially transformed into a secondary school, is a notable example of this. Midway through October, this historic structure became available for use. According to Neta Shapira, head of education at NLI, the majority of the students come from the northern village of Shlomi, whose families are currently dispersed among eight hotels in Jerusalem. She mentioned that there is a core group of parents, teachers, and children at the new school, Kedem, who had all known each other before. 

“It’s very interesting that this is the new reincarnation of the National Library because the library itself is bound up in the history of the Zionist movement. It’s a special experience [for the students] to be in Jerusalem during this historical time,” Shapira told the Times of Israel, adding, “there are a lot of students who want to learn math, chemistry, Bible studies, and history. We feel like we are their foster family, and we want to return them in the best condition [academically].”

No Camels reports on an innovative solution to the educational challenges, via an online platform created by MindCET, an innovation center that develops and supports edtech startups from Israel and around the world. The platform offers displaced students the ability to learn a new unique topic of their choice every week, for 90 minutes a day. Topics include how to code through video games and building cartoon-like Rube Goldberg machines. 

Providing emotional support
Displacement often brings about emotional and psychological challenges for students. To address this, educational programs in Israel have incorporated adaptive curriculum development that takes into account the unique needs and experiences of displaced students. This approach not only focuses on academic subjects but also includes elements of emotional support, counseling services, and community building to foster a holistic learning environment.

On Kibbutz Nahsholim the hotel has been transformed into a temporary K-12 school for children evacuated from communities around Gaza, including a principal, teachers, volunteers and support staff. “There isn’t one child here who doesn’t have a grandfather who was murdered, or a friend from class who was killed, or knows someone who was taken prisoner… they all can tell stories,” acting principal Hili Hachami told the Times of Israel. 

“The national program focuses on formulating a unique pedagogical program, which includes an emotional, social, educational and informal response tailored to these students, who have had to face horrific situations, destruction and loss in the face of the murderous attack that was perpetrated by the Hamas terror organization on October 7, 2023,” the Israeli Education Ministry said in a statement.

Zehavit Hakmon, mother of three from Karmiya, who was a teacher on Kibbutz Yad Mordechai near Gaza, told the Times of Israel that she was excited to see regular studies and scheduling return for the traumatized students. “My daughter sometimes cries. Three kids from her class were killed, and the father of one of her best friends was also killed. The trauma doesn’t end.” Hakmon explained. 

As Israeli students navigate the challenges of displacement, the resilience and adaptability of education solutions become paramount. Providing stable education helps ensure a brighter future for displaced students, fostering resilience and growth in the face of adversity.

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