WIZO teens take agriculture matriculation exam .
(photo credit: Courtesy of WIZO Israel)
Teenagers from the WIZO Nachlat Yehuda School and Youth Village in Rishon
Lezion, an agricultural high school that specializes in life sciences, took
their agriculture matriculation exam last week.
The school includes close
to 500 students, about half of whom reside in its dormitories.
to its curriculum, which the Education Ministry developed, students take five
units of agriculture and life science for their matriculation exam, which covers
animal care and dairy cow production.
“The students are directed to us
through the Education Ministry,” Nachlat Yehuda cowshed manager, Eli Levy, told
The Jerusalem Post
on Monday. “They come from weak backgrounds, or are teenagers
who need to get away from their parents to avoid conflict.”
Levy, who has
been working at the dairy barn for some 35 years, explained that most students,
who usually begin at the Youth Village in the ninth grade, often need time to
adapt to the environment.
“At first they are skeptical, because they see
big animals they are not used to dealing with,” he said. “We take small baby
steps to get them closer to the subject, through much personal
“My goal is to get the older students to teach the younger
ones,” he added.
“That way, it creates a sense of responsibility,
commitment and a feeling like they belong.”
Throughout their work in the
cowshed, which comes with regular classroom studies, students also learn to use
“They can see each cow’s data and how much milk it produces
in real time,” Levy stressed. “It also teaches them management
Last week’s exam was conducted in various parts: some written,
and some hands-on tasks examined by a ministry inspector.
“It’s what we
call learning by doing,” Levy explained.
“What they are asked in the exam
is what they have seen in our cowshed, and if it wasn’t in ours, it was probably
in other farms I took them on a trip to.”
According to Levy, the school’s
success rate on the matriculation exam lies somewhere between 75 and 85
“I have much appreciation for these kids, I see them as heroes,”
he told the Post
“They go through very significant steps in life and
they don’t have their family nearby. They can work and reach great
He added that the relationships between students and
educators at the school are “very emotional.”
“Sometimes they come back
to visit in army uniforms, and if you meet them by chance you feel that this
place does them good,” Levy said. “I hope they got a taste of agriculture here,
and maybe some of them can work in this field later.”
According to World
WIZO chairwoman Rivka Lazovski, these agricultural studies are aimed at
“providing students the values of community service, respect for animals and
love of their country.”