Advancing Science Education in Schools
What do gifted doctoral students do after graduation? For some, it’s an opportunity to inspire and educate a new generation of Israeli students.
The Teacher-Researcher Program was the brainchild of a group of Science faculty members who were also parents to children in the Jerusalem school system, in response to the shortage of qualified science teachers in Israel, which in coming years is expected to intensify.
To counter this trend, the Hebrew University has partnered with the city of Jerusalem to create this program, which trains PhD graduates to teach high-level science in Jerusalem high schools, while continuing to conduct scientific research as University research fellows. Teacher-Researcher salaries are covered by a three-way partnership between the University, the Jerusalem Municipality, and philanthropy.
Through their unique position at the nexus of secondary and higher education, Teacher-Researchers are able to bridge the gap and make science real for students through activities such as visiting the University’s cutting-edge labs. For some schools, Teacher-Researchers can make the difference between having no dedicated science teacher and having a first-rate educator and researcher.
In its first five years, the program placed 13 Teacher-Researchers in Jerusalem high schools, reaching more than 650 pupils in the last year alone. The University aspires to place 3-5 additional graduates each year until there are a total of 20-25 Teacher-Researchers in the program. The continued success of this pilot program and its expansion to other universities could be the key to improving science education and achievement in Jerusalem and across Israel.
"What we are learning goes beyond chemistry: to study with an open mind, to research, to become interested, to be curious."
Adir, Student, Gilo Comprehensive High School