Sapir Academic College is dedicated to developing a thriving Negev by generating social, cultural and economic impact to the region. The College's mission is to provide all citizens, regardless of race, religion or background, with the opportunity to pursue higher education. As such, an important component of the College's vision is the advancement of Arab Bedouin students, impacting Israeli society today and the future.
The Arab Bedouin community in the Negev suffers from the highest poverty and unemployment rates in Israel, coupled with low rates of matriculation and eligibility for higher education. As a result, Arab Bedouin students have the highest college dropout rates in Israel.
At the request of Israel's Ministry of Education’s Council for Higher Education, Sapir created and launched in 2015, Gateway to Academy-Higher Education Program for Arab Bedouin Students. Our four-year program provides comprehensive solutions that address the academic, financial and cultural issues facing Bedouin students. The high staff to student ratio and personalized attention are key factors to Gateway's success.
Gateway's four-year program components include:
- Academics: Reinforced credited college courses, mentors and intensive academic assistance.
- Language: Extra hours and reinforcement of Hebrew and English language skills.
- Empowerment & Civil Society: Soft skills workshops, seminars, volunteer opportunities, retreats and site visits that address empowerment, identity and civil society.
- Finances: Generous scholarships, living and travel stipends, as well as Emergency Aid for students experiencing financial crises.
- Career Planning: Students participate in Sapir's new Career Center's Economic Empowerment and Career Planning courses, simulations and placement activities.
Candidates are encouraged to join the 6-week 'One Step Ahead' summer preparatory program. The program kicks off with an intensive pre-academic year in small homogenous classes, to prepare students for their selected degree studies. Participants that successfully complete the year-end exams, enroll in their chosen college departments. The year-end grades replace the requirement for psychometric examinations, (similar to the SAT in the United States), which are not culturally sensitive and remain a major obstacle for college admissions.
Sapir's Teaching Departments participating in the Gateway Program include:
The School of Social Work, Law School, The School of Audio & Visual Arts, Communications, Cultural Studies, Human Resources, Public Administration & Policy, Computer Sciences, Economics, Industrial Management, and Logistics. In addition, Gateway students can join Sapir's one year Bridge Programs with
Ben Gurion University in Engineering and Sciences.