Educational Research and Reviews

  • Abbreviation: Educ. Res. Rev.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1990-3839
  • DOI: 10.5897/ERR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 1960

Full Length Research Paper

“Intercultural mediation”, the institution of learning and the process of educational ‘integration’ and assimilation: The case of Ethiopian Jews in Israel

Girma Berhanu
Department of Education and Educational Research, Göteborg University, Box 300, SE 405 30, Göteborg, Sweden
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 24 May 2006
  •  Published: 30 June 2006



The major premise of this paper concerns the existence of an intrinsic connection between the institutional culture of school and students’ dispositions to learning. The data presented shows three things in particular. These are firstly, the strong mono-culture of the Israeli school, secondly, a virtual absence of knowledge, understanding and sensitivity on the part of these schools to how students from different cultural backgrounds learn and, thirdly, how the workings of the school environment impact on the academic development of minority children. My findings suggest that the teaching methods, the social climate of the school and patterns of school work, regarding cultural differences in Israel may have the same effect on academic progress for Ethiopian children as family (cultural) background, neighbourhood, peer environment and socio-economic status seem to have for the white urban poor in Western schools. The inequalities imposed on Ethiopian children by their home environment such as poor neighbourhood, “immobilised” or “neutralised” culture inadequately reconstituted by the new one, and interruption of cultural transmission to the young at home, are carried along to become the inequalities with which the children confront school life and, hence, future adult life.


Key words: “Intercultural mediation”, the institution of learning and the process of educational ‘integration’ and assimilation.