General educational statistics and information
As of the start of the 2019/2020 (5780) school year, there are ca.41,900 children (aged 3-18) registered for preschools, kindergartens & schools in the official Be’er-Sheva education system (that includes public, religious & ‘recognized independent’ institutions): ca.9,300 preschoolers in ca.300 preschools & kindergartens; ca.18,300 elementary-school pupils (ca.2,900 of whom are entering the 1st grade) in 51 elementary schools; and ca.14,300 high-school students in 31 middle- & high-schools. In addition, there are ca.3,000 children in the separate Ultra-Orthodox education system: preschools & kindergartens; elementary talmud Torahs; and secondary yeshivas/residential kolels.
There are 6 major academic & professional institutions providing higher education in Be’er-Sheva to about 30,000 students: the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU founded 1969, ca.20,000 students) – http://www.bgu.ac.il; Sami Shamoon College of Engineering (SCE founded 1997, over 5,500 students) – http://www.sce.ac.il; the ORT Technological College of Be’er-Sheva (TCB founded 2007, ca.920) – http://www.tcb.ac.il; the Kaye (Regional) Academic College of Education (founded 1954, ca.3,000 students) – http://www.kaye.ac.il; the Open University – 08-6277777; and the Israeli Airforce [Cadets’] Technological College (founded 1976) – http://techni-bs.iscool.co.il.
Moreover, there are 13 active youth movements (secular, pre-military, religious, etc.) in the city, involving about 3,000 young people in the 4th-12th grades – 08-6290088.
Adult and continuing education
Municipal adult education courses are available via “Kivunim,” Katedra – 08-6414444 #3. Academic & professional courses for adults are also available at BGU’s External Studies (UCES) – 08-6472626. Continuing pedagogical education (for teacher & curriculum development) is provided at the Greenberg Teachers’ Center, located at 85 Rager Blvd. (across from the Soroka Medical Center), which serves the over 5,000 of the Negev Region’s teachers and over 26,000 student-teachers, and holds annual & international teachers’ conferences and exhibits – 08-6474642/3. Special courses for teachers of gifted children are given at BGU’s Jusidman Center.
As of the start of the 2017/2018 (5778) school year, there are 20 special-education kingergartens and 10 special elementary schools – 08-6844029/30. Some regular kindergartens and schools in Be’er-Sheva have integrated special needs students after making the facilities accessible. The Society for the Care of the Developmentally Intellectually Disabled has four special (7:30-17:00) daycare centers for ages (21-74): “Dolav”, “Rimon”, “Rotem” & “Yotam” – 08-6409757.
The “Re’im” Elementary School at 117 Mivtsa Uvda provides holistic education for children (6-13) suffering from communication problems and autism – 08-6436101.
When pupils or students are having trouble learning how to read/write/do math–it’s highly recommended to first have their eyes and ears checked, just in case they aren’t hearing or seeing well enough. Then, if all is normal, they should be professionally evaluated for any learning disability that might be causing their problems, which can usually be resolved. There are specialists and private courses that teach special learning strategies for overcoming most learning disabilities, such as: the “Nitsan” Society at 6 Bene Or St. – 08-6497438 and the Raviv Institute at Eshkol Pais in Tet – 1-700-708-705.
If help to study & learn is still needed (beyond any remedial sessions and help offered within the school), then there are other types of help to be had, such as: remedial lessons and help provided by the school; volunteer student tutors from the BGU Social Action Unit; paid private tutors; or the “Hillel Project” sponsored by the Ministry of Education and the Be’er-Sheva Municipality; or NPO “PUSH” volunteer tutors for disadvantaged students – http://www.pushedu.org; or the “Libi Center for Learning” that tutors high-school English and Math, and English language at all levels – 077-3332131.
The Azrieli Institute for Educational Empowerment (founded 2004) is located in the Tet neighborhood and works to prevent 7th-9th graders from dropping out of school by reducing existing social and learning gaps – http://www.azrieli.org.
Moreover, there are many private schools that prepare students for their high-school matriculation exams, such as: “Bagrut 10” – 08-6237225/6; “Gimnasia Bagruyot Be’er-Sheva” – http://www.gimnasia4u.co.il; “Ramot Bagruyot” – 1-700-700389, and others (“Ankori,” “High-Q,” “Kidum,” “Lachman,” etc.).
Other private schools prepare college & university applicants for the Psychometric/College entrance exams, such as: “Lachman” located in the Negev Mall, 2nd floor – *2055; or “EZ Way” – 1-700-707-007, https://easy.co.il/en/page/5512129.
The City of Be’er-Sheva has created a network of ‘centers for the promotion of excellence‘ across the entire gamut of the education system, from kindergarten to the twelfth grade, as well as in the colleges and at the University, and within both the formal and the informal frameworks for children and young adults. Some of these ‘centers for excellence’ focus on excellence in science and technology, and some even specialize in promoting cyber skills or technological innovation and successful entrepreneurship, with the cooperation of high-tech and industrial companies, and using ‘smart’ classrooms equipped with advanced digital interfaces and three-dimensional printers.
As of 2020, the Trump Foundation (founded 2011)–for educational achievement in Israel—is funding 16 novel middle-school classes teaching advanced mathematics and physics in Be’er-Sheva to promote excellence.
Special courses for teachers of gifted children are given at BGU’s Jusidman Center. The Jusidman Science Center for Gifted Youth at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev offers a wide variety of special academic courses and summer schools for gifted pupils – http://in.bgu.ac.il/jusidman/Pages/contactUs.aspx.
Branco Weiss “Bet Ariel” (founded 2002 by the Association for the Promotion of Science Education) is located at 39 Wingate St. in the Gimel neighborhood – 08-6274086, http://brancoweiss.org.il.
“Lunada” – Children’s Interactive Museum (initiated in 2009 as Children’s World “Hava-Yeda”) has 50 displays in 8 galleries and 2 courtyards that create an experiential, hands-on learning environment for children to age ten – 08-6226926. This is a part of the 15-acre Children’s Park situated below the Neve Menahem neighborhood.
The Carasso Science Park (opened 2013) is the largest science park in Israel. It is situated in the largest, beautfully restored Ottoman-Turkish edifice in the Old City and provides interactive exhibits, inside the building and in the surrounding garden, suited to visitors of all ages – 08-6252600, http://en.sci-park.co.il/#.
The “Nahshon Project,” sponsored by the Ministry of Defense, seeks to promote excellence in mathematics via free computer instruction for 7th-12th graders – http://www.negev.mod.gov.il/about/Pages/conection.aspx.
Kaye Teachers’ College has a “Municipal Special Center for Motivation and Self-Determination – 08-608925, http://www.kaye.ac.il/אלפון-סגל-אקדמי/item/קפלן-חיה
Key figures in Be’er-Sheva education
Kidushah Roitman-Bamenolker, at the Gevim Experimental School, was awarded the “Israel Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award” for 2010.
Dinah David, Director of the Municipal Elementary School Unit, is worthy of special praise for spearheading a valuable citywide project in the elementary schools that teaches the children about the City of Be’er-Sheva, its unique 6,000-year history and cultural heritage sites.
Pinchas Ofek (1937-2020) resided in Be’er-Sheva for about 60 years, during which he taught almost everyone (even me) music theory & promoted classical & Israeli folk music in the Negev region, even introducing the concept of “Popera” (opera for the general public). In 1996, the Israel Ministry of Education granted Ofek the “Lifetime Teacher Award” and, in 1999, the City of Be’er-Sheva granted him the status of “City Honoree.”
Dr. Heftsi Zohar (b.1968-), a member of the Municipal Council and holder of the Education Portfolio, is worthy of special praise for initiating a healthy nutrition program in the entire education system of Be’er-Sheva; Itsik Helman & I were among the program promoters & consultants on behalf of the Be’er-Sheva Green Association.
Innovations in education
Starting from the 2021/22 school year, the first grade at the “Neta’im Meytarim” Elementary School in Be’er-Sheva will be taught in accordance with the Montessori Method (developed in Italy by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 20th century) to develop independent thinking, curiosity and learning skills, as well as life and social skills, and to promote emotional maturity, with special attention to the personal learning curve of each unique individual.
The Ben-Gurion University of the Negev at least 7 unique accredited courses, not found in the other Israeli universities. Bachelors courses:African studies(with voluntary participation in the“African Initiative” in Africa); Traffic safety engineering; Natural gas engineering; Railroad engineering; Social justice; and Classical music appreciation, via ‘active listening’, in conjunction with the Be’er-Sheva Symphonietta. There’s also a new Masters program in Conflict management. In addition, in 2020, BGU initiated a special Masters’ studies track in Healthcare Leadership & Management.
The “smart classrooms” and “a laptop for every teacher” projects were initiated in 2008 to raise both the teachers and their students to a higher high-tech level.
Following the examples set by BGU and SCE, hopefully, the number of recognized green (eco-friendly) schools in Be’er-Sheva will keep rising. Currently, in 2018, there are two green elementary schools in the city: “Gevim” and “Netive Am” (joining 45 others across Israel).
Bet Moriah (founded 2006) was the first religious military prep-school in Israel, with a unique curriculum including: physical training for I.D.F. service along with courses on Jewish values & thought and the history of the Jewish People and the State of Israel – 052-6877491.
Korzcak Elementary School (founded 2006) in the Hey neighborhood is run by the “Neta Erez” Association in accordance with the “Waldorf System of Education” and principles of anthroposophy: no tests, no textbooks and the same teacher throughout the elementary school years.
Awards for educational achievement
Coexistence and peace can begin in the sandbox… A unique 50% Jewish/50% Bedouin bilingual, pluralistic kindergarten, the Hagar Kindergarten was founded in 2008 in Be’er-Sheva. In 2017, BGU awarded the Hagar NPO the William Berelson Prize for the Promotion of Jewish-Arab Understanding. Location: Hey neighborhood on Mintz St. – 077-2708307, 08-6375345, http://www.hajar.org.il.
In 2007, Makif Het High-School was given an award by “Yad Vashem” – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem for its special “Holocaust Studies Program” and an “Award for Excellence in Jewish, Zionist & Civic Education” by the Ministry of Education with the “Avi Hai” Fund.
The “Amit” Rambam Elementary School won the National “Amit” Network Education Prize for 2006.