Tel Aviv University (ISRAEL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 5195-5200
ISBN: 978-84-614-7423-3
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
The goal of this project is to introduce competent youth from defined periphery, to leading universities and academic studies. We study the cultural, social and identity implications of promoting excellence through academic studies, for a first generation of scholars.

The study is based on 10 years database of the on-going project: "Tel Aviv Youth University" at the Dov Lautman Unit of Science Oriented Youth, Constantiner School of Education. In the project presented here, teenagers (age 16-17), of defined periphery disadvantages, are encouraged to spend their summer at the university campus. They are provided with regular on-campus housing and participate in academic courses of the summer semester. The program is based on tutoring and guided social activities.

Periphery in defined here in many dimensions. We address it on the social level, gender, geographical, political, educational, cultural, legal and sectorial. The gap between center and periphery reaches its peak, when several parameters of the periphery definition are valid at once. It can be evaluated on a scoring system. The theoretical framework of this study focuses on a nation's various capital types: cultural and social, and Habitus, after Bourdieu 1986.

This is a comparative study, encompasing minority groups of different attributes in society. We follow up participants from their first interaction with the university, during their high-school years, as they were first involved with the Unit for Science Oriented Youth. Then we track them through their undergraduate studies with the Unit's coaching, and up to graduation.

We examine the meaning that our subjects attribute to their exposure to the new lifestyle and networking experience. We evaluate the risk of overloading the subject with extreme expectations, disappointment and the challenge to cope with the reality of everyday life and their original environment. However, our findings indicate that the enhanced access to higher education is empowering and brings on a substantial change of perception of the self and of society.
Higher education, periphery, education research, exellence, competence evaluation.