Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Canada's Inuit and Israel's Bedouin

From the sound of it, Israel's Bedouin population is infinitely better off than Canada's Inuit. According to an article published on April 11, 2006 in the Globe and Mail:

OTTAWA — Nunavut is facing "a moment of crisis" just seven years into the much-heralded creation of Canada's third territory, suffering from high unemployment, a 75-per-cent school dropout rate and a host of social ills.

A final report on the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement released yesterday blames the education system for failing to produce literate youth, which has in turn allowed a situation in which non-Inuit outsiders land most top government jobs.


Other findings in the report include:

Only 25 per cent of Inuit students graduate from high school. Rates of suicide, smoking, sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis far exceed national averages.

A special program to increase the number of Inuit teachers is only graduating between eight and 12 a year, failing to meet demand.

I have to say, this article certainly made me appreciate the strength of families among the Bedouin, something that I usually tend to view as very oppressive. Only 25 percent graduate from high school?? That's crazy 3rd World. I'm sure among the Bedouin, at least 75 percent if not more graduate. Sure, there are problems with drug abuse, but I doubt that they amount to anywhere near the kinds of problems that exist in Canada's north. Of a population of 30, 000 Inuit (I never knew how many there were), they're able to graduate only 8-10 teachers every year?! Granted, the Bedouin in the Negev number about 120, 000, but I wouldn't be surprised if the number of Bedouin who graduate from Teacher's Colleges every year stands around 70 if not a 100, and that number is only increasing. Yesterday, I was at a little conference held at Ben-Gurion U in the framework of the program as part of which I teach English in Kseife and a female Bedouin Ph.D. student gave a PowerPoint presentation in which she showed that there has been something like a 300 percent rise in the number of female Bedouin students at the university in the past 7 years. In fact, they now outnumber male Bedouin students.

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