The motivation and commitment of teachers in Arab secondary schools in Israel : problems and improvement strategies
When the state of Israel was established in 1948, about 150,000 Arabs remained in the country. Since then, this minority, now more than a million, has faced a massive educational problem. For example, the Arab educational system, which was not headed by an Arab until the early 1970’s, is segregated from the Jewish system. This segregation militated against Arab children’s education, in terms of, funding, buildings, the restricted curricular aims of Arabic language and literature teaching, civics and history of the Arabs. Furthermore, unqualified teachers and head teachers were appointed, thereby lowering teacher status in the Arab community. The consequent loss of motivation and commitment among Arab school teachers contributed to the high drop-out rate of Arab pupils in the Local Education Authority (LEA) schools, reaching about 50 per cent in 1992, while the Matriculation pass rate averaged only 30 per cent. Significantly, however, the 33 private Arab secondary schools, affiliated to Christian Churches (PC), revealed both a minimal drop-out rate and the highest Matriculation pass rate, namely 59.5 per cent in 1998 (Statistical Abstract of Israel, 2000, 22.21). To investigate this discrepancy, the present research compares the motivation and commitment of Arab LEA school teachers with those in the PC schools. The research also analyses the effect of segregation and discrimination on Arab pupils’ achievements, and how the performance gap between Arab and Jewish schools might be bridged. The investigation further reveals significant job dissatisfaction among LEA teachers, an unacceptably low level of school culture, teachers’ motivation and commitment in school staffs, together with a lack of vision, of school policy and of teachers’ involvement in the process of decision-making. Conversely, the PC school teachers motivation and commitment to these factors was found to be more professional and dedicated. Furthermore, the PC teachers displayed a more positive attitude than their LEA colleagues towards the issue of educational discrimination. The research concludes that cultural and motivational change in Arab schools is needed to produce better educational results.