Palestinian Arab Education in the Israeli Settler State: A Critical Analysis from the Standpoint of a ‘Present Absentee’

6th July 2021 : 10:00 - 11:00

Category: Webinar

Speaker: Professor Ismael Abu-Saad, Abraham Cutler Chair in Education at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Location: Teams

Audience: Public





Mariam Hassoun, We’am Hamdan and Niall Winters



In this presentation, I will examine the Israeli public educational system in the broader context of colonising educational systems to elucidate the ways in which it was designed to serve the Israeli settler-state project. I will provide examples of how policy, curriculum, and teacher training were structured to perpetuate a deep-seated societal division between the state’s Jewish and Palestinian Arab citizens, and to maintain the cultural, socioeconomic, and political subordination of Palestinian Arab students. I will explore these issues from the standpoint of a “present absentee,” which is an early legal designation for displaced indigenous Palestinian Arabs within the Israeli state that remains an accurate metaphor for the status of the Palestinian Arab minority within and beyond the education system today. The on-going lived experience of Palestinians as ‘present absentees’ is a critical vantage point from which to view the issues of justice, social stratification, inclusion and exclusion in the Israeli education system and the society at large; and to assess the extent to which the Israeli state has both succeeded and failed to establish a colonial educational hegemony.



Ismael Abu-Saad is a Professor of Educational Policy and Administration in the Department of Education, founding director of the Center for Bedouin Studies and Development, and the holder of the Abraham Cutler Chair in Education at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva. He obtained his PhD from the University of Minnesota in 1989. His research interests include educational policy and development among indigenous peoples, Palestinian Arab education and higher education, social identity in heterogeneous societies, the impact of urbanisation on the Negev Bedouin Arab and organisational behaviour in multicultural contexts.


This event is part of the Pedagogy, Learning, and Knowledge Research Theme Seminar Series.