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April 24, 1992 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-04-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


Growing Up Fast

Continued from preceding page


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FRIDAY, APRIL 24, 1992

ing high marks on the
bagrut. But every committee
that has looked into the
issue has decided that the
bagrut should continue."
Ms. Rogev, the geography
teacher, is all for it. "It's a
great challenge," she says.
The bagrut teaches students
how to struggle toward a
goal. "If it's one of the many
conditions of life that make
Israeli kids grow up fast,
that's good," she says. "We
have exchange students here
from the U.S., France, Ger-
many and other countries,
and those kids are infants
compared to ours."
But Professor Anita
Shapira, dean of humanities
at Tel Aviv University, con-
tends that the life-and-death
importance placed on 'the
bagrut distorts high school
education. "All work in the
senior year is pointed
towards the exam. The
students don't develop their
thinking; they don't study
subjects in depth; they just
study for the bagrut. It
shrinks their horizons."
Professor Shapira also
finds that the exam is by no
means a sure-fire test of
knowledge; many high
scorers cannot speak or
write well in English or even
in Hebrew and are fre-
quently out-performed at
university by those with
lower bagrut marks but
greater intellectual depth.
Only about 30 percent of
the annual 50,000 high
school seniors take the
exam; the others get
technical school certificates,
which prepares them for a
trade, or they forgo the
bagrut, which prepares them
for the unemployment or un-
skilled labor pool.
Of those who take the test,
some 80 percent pass with
an average of 55 or better in
the mandatory subjects: Bi-
ble, history, mathematics,
Hebrew language and litera-
ture, English and citizen-
But to get into one of
Israel's six universities, a 55
average in the basic subjects
won't do, except in rare
cases. To get into the most
sought-after departments,
such as medicine, law, busi-
ness administration and
economics, which accept
only a small minority of ap-
plicants, students may have
to score over 100 by getting
bonus points for extra years
of study and have to do the
bagrut on a much wider
range of subjects.
All of the half-dozen Shaul
Levine students interviewed
said they intended to go to
university after the army.
None had yet decided what

to study, but each figured he
or she would need at least a
90 or 95 average on the
bagrut to get into a good
department. If they did poor-
ly on any individual tests,
pulling their overall average
down, they would take these
tests over again in the army
or afterward. A thriving cot-
tage industry has grown up
in Israel preparing students,
especially after the army, for
the exam.
There have been a - few
other suicides and attempted
suicides by high school
students in recent years, but
it's hard to determine if they
were caused by test
pressure. Asked if she knew
of any cases of extreme anxi-
ety brought on by the bagrut,
senior Michal Bar-El said,
"My, girlfriend had a ner-
vous breakdown last month.
It seems it was from the
pressure and lack of sleep
from studying. But she's
all right now She'll be taking
the bagrut in May." ❑



Grant To JCC
To Aid Impaired

The Jewish Community
Center of Metropolitan
Detroit has received a
$20,000 grant from the Corn-
munity Foundation for South-
eastern Michigan for expan-
sion of services to individuals
with hearing and visual
The Center will offer a
range of specialized program-
ming opportunities for all
ages, including support
groups, physical education
classes, social groups, drama
classes, speech reading
classes, educational forums,
adaptive equipment, and sign
interpretation for a variety of
For information about these
programs, call Margo Weitzer
at the JCC, 661-1000.

JARC Art Show
At Sinai Hospital

Works of art by 20 par-
ticipants of JARC programs
will be on display in the
Fisher Lobby of Sinai
Hospital from April 26
through May 11.
The mixed-media art ex-
hibit is the fourth annual col-
laboration between the Sinai
Hospital Guild and JARC, a
Jewish association for
residential care for persons
with developmental
disabilities. Works will in-
clude watercolor, acrylic, fiber,
and ceramics.
An artists' reception will be
held 2-3 p.m. April 26.

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