Big Picture Learning | המכון הדמוקרטי

Big Picture Learning

The challenge

Between the Israeli matriculation and vocational systems, the educational inequality is flourishing.  Percentages are worse for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds: 79% finish 12 years at school; 46% are entitled to matriculation certificate; 40% are qualified to university; 295 learn in a university.

The current educational system does not prepare students to the hectic working world; does not suit all the students; does not solve the educational gaps in society

According to the last OECD report, “the education system is in a state of failure, causes wage gaps, and is likely to cause a socio-economic disaster. This year, too, the OECD emphasized Israel’s weak educational system and designates it as one of the barriers to economic achievement. The current educational system does not adequality prepare the next generation’s workforce for jobs in hi-tech-an area which is suffering from a dearth of qualified employees. On the one hand, this lack allows for the possibility of growth and competition, but on the other hand, highlights wage gaps and inequality.


Big picture learning is an innovative educational model that breaks down the walls between schools and the real world. It gives any student a fair chance to succeed

  • Learning through interest/internship – The model pursues students to find their passion and pairs them with mentors who work in the fields the students want to explore.
  • Personalization – Improved physical conditions: small classes, same teacher for 4 years.
  • Encouraging parents to be active participants – parents and families help shaping the learning plan.
  • Community-based program: the whole community is involved – advisors, peers, parents and mentors.
  • Getting “real world” skills: Learning teamwork, taking initiatives, responsibility, and resiliency.


  • To replicate US success in Israel
  • Give any student the chance to succeed
  • Roll out the system in 15 schools(?) until 2020
  • Provide a solution to the 40% that are not entitled for matriculation diploma
  • Focus on schools in the geographical periphery


BPL model, generated in the USA in 1995 and currently diffusing innovation throughout the world, focuses on personalizing each individual student’s learning experience within a community of fellow learners. BPL student learning starts with, and is driven by, individual interests and passions, including through internship-based learning in careers of his/her choice.

To learn more about BPL:

The BPL model operates throughout 14 states in the USA and throughout 10 countries around the world. In Israel, the Democratic Institute operates as the franchise for BPL. In the last few years, the model has appeared in of innovative schools throughout the world.

In practice

The year started on September 1st, 2018 with nine schools, Jewish and Arab, throughout the country and four passionate staff members of DI that accompany the process closely.  The schools are located in the socio-geographical periphery and are aimed at helping youth-at-risk in the following locations: Shlomi, Hadera, Netanya, Callansua, Hertzlia, Tel-Aviv, Holon, Bat-Yam and Jerusalem.

We plan to locate additional schools that will take part in the program so that the process which began last year with three schools and grew into nine this year, will conclude in a total number of 16 schools for the five years of the pilot stage.


BPL US, JDC-Ashalim, the Ministry of Education, DI.

The Democratic Institute – society and education

Address: 149 Derech Namir, Tel Aviv 62507, Israel
Tel: 972-3-741-2729 | Fax: 972-3-741-2723


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