CHICAGO — The Israeli Consulate in Chicago hosts dozens of local leaders for an event on promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in education.
Keynote speaker Professor Yifat Bitton presents successful strategies she has found as president of the Achva Academic College in southern Israel, which serves one of the most diverse student populations in Israel.
Bitton suggests encouraging students from less privileged backgrounds to diversify their college majors so that the workforce is less homogenous and more reflective of Israeli society.
She also highlights the rising drop-out rates among minority populations from higher education institutions and stresses the importance of addressing each minority’s challenges individually in order to mitigate the problem.
Discussing the challenges of running an institution where the majority of students come from underprivileged backgrounds, Bitton says she has turned down offers from donors to supply laptops, explaining that these would likely go unused due to the connectivity issues in Bedouin towns. Instead, she has encouraged donors to put down funds for computer rooms on-site at the campus, so that they can be used by all students and prevent their division based on socioeconomic status.