Betar Illit sees plunging youth dropout rate

Education Ministry Youth and Welfare Department directors' tour reveals shrinking dropout phenomenon in city education system.

Mordechai Sones ,

Poalei Menahem Talmud Torah in Betar Illit
Poalei Menahem Talmud Torah in Betar Illit
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"We found creative work that deserves to be learned from, open-mindedness, and extraordinary thinking about how to deal with unusual problems," said Education Ministry Youth and Welfare Department directors who arrived for a special tour of haredi Judean city Betar Illit.

The tour was part of the "Learning from Success" program, which is intended to study municipal authorities that have reached exceptional achievements in various fields. The day of tour and study focused on the extensive system of screening, prevention, and treatment of challenged youth that the municipality established in recent years. The system focuses on detection and treatment from lower ages and at first stages of difficulty.

Poalei Menahem Talmud Torah in Betar Illit
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During the tour Education Ministry officials learned that recent years have seen a decline in the numbers of youth dropping out of the city's education system. "This fact is credited to the extensive educational system that the municipality set up to deal with 'challenged youth', a large part of which focuses on prevention and treatment at the earliest stage," the mayor's office said.

"The results, according to the data, reveal a decline of tens of percentage points, and the Education Ministry wanted to understand and learn how these successes were achieved," they said.

During the tour, the Municipal Councils' Truancy Unit Director reviewed the local council's work and changes carried out by Truant Officers in its definition. "Once a regular Truant Officer was a kind of firefighter, who only cared when a student didn't show up for studies. Today, the Truant Officer's role is to coordinate systemic work in preventing dropouts, to maintain continuous contact with principals and parents, to monitor problems early on, and to assist in guidance and treatment long before the stage when a student stops coming."

Betar Psychological Service Director Dr. Lior Somech presented the Shahar Division project, a special model developed for the haredi sector that provides psychological training for managers and teachers through unique models designed to help identify children with difficulties.

Betar Illit
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