Yes they can
In Israel, as in other developed countries, there is a close link between education and income. Without higher education it's difficult to get a well-paid good job, and without a matriculation certificate ("Bagrut"), access to higher education is very limited indeed.
For students from a low socioeconomic background and those living in the periphery, getting the matriculation certificate is an essential key to social mobility. But for reasons that have nothing to do with their abilities, this is 'mission impossible' for many of them.
Yeholot ("abilities" in Hebrew) Association, a Rashi Foundation affiliate, specializes in helping high schools in Israel's periphery improve the academic achievements of their students and raise matriculation rates. The "accelerated learning" method of Yeholot is based on the conviction that every child can succeed in school. This unique method was developed for working with students who stopped believing in their own capability after experiencing repeated disappointments, as did their teachers.
The "Start" Program of Yeholot focuses on the lowest-achieving students, who have failed so many subjects by the end of 9th grade that they are at high risk of dropping out altogether. The program operates in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and with the support of philanthropic partners.
Over three years, until the end of 12th grade, the students go through a structured, accelerated process of acquiring learning skills as well as self-confidence and motivation, with teachers from the school team who were trained to apply the principles of the accelerated learning method.
The latest results of the matriculation exams that were published by the Ministry of Education show once more the remarkable success of Start:
Out of the program participants who graduated high school last year, 70% were eligible for a matriculation certificate, which they can all use to apply to college.
Thanks to the achievements of Start students, the overall matriculation rate in a third of the schools in the program exceeded 90%; two of the schools even reached a success rate of 99.5% and 100%.
The average matriculation rate in all the participating schools was 78.4%, compared to 68.2% nationwide.
While it may seem that children's educational achievements will always be connected to their social-economic background, Start and other Yeholot programs clearly prove that it doesn't have to be so.