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Kidumatica Program Lauded by the Knesset

Kidumatica Program Lauded by the Knesset

March 7, 2017

Negev Development & Community Programs

The Israeli Knesset’s Education and Culture Committee heaped praise on BGU’s Kidumatica Youth Mathematics Forum at a recent session. Committee members emphasized that Kidumatica students “don’t just calculate, they cogitate!” In other words, Kidumatica teaches its students how to think critically.

Headed by Prof. Miriam (Miri) Amit, chair of the Graduate Program for Science and Technology Education at BGU, Kidumatica was lauded for its success in helping the Negev’s youth break through socio-economic barriers.

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Prof. Miri Amit

This program provides mathematically talented middle and high school students living in the Negev with a math enrichment experience that shapes the future of their lives. Participants are generally children from underprivileged homes who otherwise may not receive the tools they need to succeed.

Kidumatica was founded 19 years ago by Prof. Amit, with the help of the Rashi Foundation and its then-head, Member of Knesset Eli Alaluf. Every year, over 550 students participate in Kidumatica, 90 of them Bedouin students. The program is designed to provide its students with an opportunity for long-term learning, and some of its students have been participating and progressing continuously for several years.

MK Alaluf emphasized the diversity of Kidumatica’s student body, which represents the full range of the Negev’s highly varied population. The chair of the committee, Member of Knesset Oded Forer, praised the project’s approach of providing the students with useful skills like logical thinking, introducing them to new scientific fields and encouraging them to develop their creativity.

“This is exactly what the State of Israel needs to keep up with international standards,” says Forer. The committee members also praised Kidumatica’s role as a social “melting pot” for Israel’s southern region.

Also present were students Chail Elnekave, an 11th grader from Netivot who is currently in her sixth year of participation in the program; Nir Alfasi, an 8th grader who has been in Kidumatica for four years; and Adi Yifroimski, a 7th grader who is now in his third year.

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Prof. Miriam Amit (second from the left); Leonid Girshkin (right), Kidumatica academic coordinator; and Kidumatica students Adi Yifroimski, Nir Alfasi and Chail Elnekave during their visit to the Knesset

“It is important to emphasize that about 40 percent of the program’s participants are girls, which is particularly noteworthy in light of the fact that relatively few girls turn toward mathematical and scientific pursuits,” says Prof. Amit.

In the years since its inception, Kidumatica’s students have won prizes in a variety of national and international competitions. Program graduates have gone on to serve in elite cyber and intelligence units of the IDF, and to swell the ranks of academic excellence at BGU. Some graduates have even come back to Kidumatica to serve as mentors for the next generation of students.

“Kidumatica is constructive proof that the social equation can be changed, and we will continue to work toward the promotion of equity and excellence,” says Prof. Amit.