Merchavim's Ethiopian-Israeli Teacher Placement (EITPP) serves to increase the number of teachers from the Ethiopian-Israeli community hired to teaching posts in Jewish schools in Israel. The number of Ethiopian-Israeli teachers among all employed educators is far below their representation in the general population. The Ministry of Education (MOE) has made solving this problem high on its agenda and is working with an increased impetus to support strategies for increased Ethiopian-Israeli teacher placement. Of the 175,000 educators in the MOE system, only 0.4% are Ethiopian-Israeli (approx. 700 educators*), and there is a definitive lack of Ethiopian-Israeli's in leadership/administrative roles (there are only two Ethiopian-Israeli school principals) in the entire system. *Up from 0.3% last year thanks to Merchavim's program.
The placement of an Ethiopian-Israeli citizen in a teaching role in which they are an authority figure, a role model, and an educator creates an exceptional opportunity to convey the values of shared citizenship and respect for diversity. Furthermore, it establishes a foundation for improving inter-group relations within Israeli society.
The MOE supports Ethiopian-Israeli students in teaching colleges, and at universities, via the TESFA program, providing academic support and accompaniment to students. Great efforts are invested in encouraging and supporting Ethiopian-Israeli citizens to pursue and succeed in academic studies, and in particular, teaching. However, senior students and new graduates often find it difficult to find teaching
placements and navigate the acceptance process. The Merchavim EITP program has changed this reality. Merchavim's proven record of collaborative work with the MOE on teacher integration from diverse identities prompted a request from the MOE that Merchavim assist with Ethiopian-Israeli teacher
integration. To this end, The Ethiopian-Israeli Teacher Placement Program (EITPP) launched in 2017. The program has since grown and achieved new milestones.
- Assisting with teacher placements, accompaniment, and mentoring, sharing best practices and resources to ensure success and to increase teacher retention.
- Raising awareness among school principals to the many benefits of increasing diversity in their schools and the important contribution Ethiopian-Israeli educators make to improving school communities.
- Focused work with Ethiopian-Israeli kindergarten teachers as they face unique challenges finding placements. The provision of continued support and tools to empower newly placed teachers and the accompaniment of veteran teachers.
- The creation and maintenance of an online community of Ethiopian-Israeli teachers so share information and provide peer support.
- Facilitating a 'peer teacher community study group' program which brings together teachers for joint study, learning, and enrichment with a focus on shared society. This is a new MOE pilot to gauge the effectiveness of study groups and to promote greater participation in development among teachers and their peers. The TLV pilot is a joint effort of the MOE and Merchavim.
- Facilitating, with a peer NGO, a course to provide veteran EI teachers the tools they need for future pedagogical leadership and to assist them in navigating the acceptance process of the prestigious MOE leadership/management courses such as Evnei Rosha (preparing educators for school leadership roles).
See the program's video here.