Research indicates that attaining a higher education is a key factor in social mobility, opening the door to greater employment prospects and to future social and economic opportunities.
The Rashi Foundation supports high school students who have potential to continue on to higher education, but whose educational chances are reduced because they live in the periphery with fewer resources, and who need a great deal of moral and practical support to gain academic success.
Launched in 2005, High School Academia is a three-year program starting in 10th grade that works in full coordination with the school and strives to enrich existing learning and social activities. The program supports students scholastically, socially and emotionally whilst demanding high standards and complete commitment to success from all its participants. The program is aimed at leading the students to completion of high school with a matriculation diploma of a level that enables acceptance to academic institutions (4 units in English and a minimum of 21 study units in total).
The program also emphasizes value-education, by which its graduates are directed towards leadership and community service.
The program targets high school students on a matriculation exam track with average grades, yet with high motivation for success and with no behavioral problems. Preference is given to students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. The students chosen form a home room class and they become the school's "academic class".
The Academia class study in small groups, with individual attention and constant review by the teachers, the school's program coordinator, school counselor and psychologist. A steering committee made up of the school principal, therapeutic staff and teachers monitors each and every pupil to help them achieve success. Participants enjoy a hot lunch every day and after school activities of academic, social and experiential nature.
In 2009-10, there were 1,020 students in the program in 12 schools in eight different localities. The average matriculation success rate of these students is 90%.