WIZO teens take agriculture matriculation exam

Throughout their work in the cowshed, which comes with regular classroom studies, students also learn to use technology.

June 3, 2013 17:40
2 minute read.
WIZO teens take agriculture matriculation exam

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.

According 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 assistance.

“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 technology.

“They can see each cow’s data and how much milk it produces in real time,” Levy stressed. “It also teaches them management skills.”

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 percent.

“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 achievements.”

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.”

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