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The Feuerstein Institute is dedicated to creating a more inclusive and diverse Israeli society. In 2010, Feuerstein launched Aim Higher, a program which to date has helped support more than 300 Israelis from the Ethiopian community and the social periphery (residents of development towns, Israeli Arabs and Bedouins, and the like) in pursuing their goals and dreams in higher education.
Aim Higher is truly innovative; a ‘hand-up’ rather than a ‘hand-out’ the program assists young Israelis in gaining admission to the most prestigious departments of Israel’s top universities. Historically, very few young adults from these backgrounds are accepted into universities as they tend to underperform on the psychometric entrance test (PET), despite otherwise good grades and well-rounded extracurricular activities. The Aim Higher program removes this barrier by replacing the PET with Feuerstein’s LPAD dynamic assessment,
Once accepted into university, the students participate in an intensive course in Feuerstein’s Instrumental Enrichment, which teaches them thinking and learning skills. They are then provided with ongoing cognitive, academic, financial and social support throughout their years in university – benefits which provide them with community, ease financial burdens, and overcome potential academic stumbling blocks. They are also accompanied by a campus coordinator who ensures that they successfully navigate the academic environment at the universities.
The young men and women who have participated in this program have performed beautifully. Early on in the pilot, it became clear that not only were these students performing on par with their classmates admitted through traditional pathways, but they also had a lower overall drop-out rate (9.4% as compared to the national average of 22%).
Today, the program is implemented with great success at a number of higher education institutions across Israel, including the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Bar Ilan University, and Ariel University. With the Feuerstein Institute’s assistance, Ethiopian immigrants have become integrated into natural and medical sciences studies at a rate of twice their ratio in the general population, and in law studies at a rate of 6.5 times their ratio. Students coming from social, geographic, and economic periphery areas became integrated into paramedical studies at a rate of twice their ratio in the general population, and in medical and engineering studies at a rate similar to their ratio.