The Academic Khan (“a Turkish” inn)
The Negev offers many social and environmental challenges, and there are many people working to promote the region through various organizations. However, many of these activists come with insufficient training and do not work within a wide enough context. The Academic Khan looks to solve this problem by providing the tools for more effective processes which create joint responsibility for the environment and encourage significant learning, on the one hand, and by expanding the context for activity throughout the Negev, on the other.
The Academic Khan is a collaboration between the Institute for Democratic Education and Kaye Academic College of Education in Beersheba. It provides academic training with course credits in a variety of subjects. The program comprises at least 60 hours which include study outside the classroom (tours, visits, meetings), seminars and lectures—various forms of learning both theory and practice. Participants are required to submit a final project.
The Academic Khan aims to train and develop innovative pedagogic educational subjects including, democratic education, environmental education, democratic leadership, 21st twenty-first century skills, social and environmental initiatives, and more.
As a short-term program, the program is also suitable for people who work full time.
Examples of the Academic Khan’s courses:
The Negev as a Puzzle of Changing Needs – the course is held at the initiative of Israel Chemicals Ltd. (ICL) in the Negev and is offered to tour guides employed by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. The course presents the different needs that come together in this region of Israel: industry, settlement and Zionism, tourism, army, and nature reserves. Its goal is to enhance understanding of the complexity in prioritizing all the different needs.
The Educational Guide for Nature Therapy – students, guides, and other interested parties must pass an interview to be accepted to this course. Using both theory and practice, it focuses on the subject of nature therapy, outdoor training (ODT), and the development of reflexive thinking for youth at risk and youth in the community. At the end of the course each participant builds a therapeutic map of the group.
Environmental Education for Counselors of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority – the course is designed for soldier-teachers and guides who have graduated field schools and are interested in deepening their understanding and their skills in the subject of environmental education, the development of environmental identity, and the creation of an open space in the course of a trip or educational tour. The course takes place over one intensive week.
Community Leaders Course for Youth Coordinators in the Management of Society and Youth – the course is designed for groups of youth coordinators from the Bedouin sector as part of their training in management of society and the youth. The course deals with subjects such as: Who is a significant leader? What is authentic leadership? How can you lead change in the community? What is initiative and enlisting partners in the community? At the end of the course the youth coordinators each open a social and environmental initiative in their community.