Today (June 18th 2019), the High Court of Justice ordered the translation of matriculation exams into Arabic. The decision was made within the framework of a petition that ACRI submitted on Monday demanding that all documents related to matriculation exams in geography be translated into Arabic. The High Court of Justice stressed: preparations must be made in advance so that exams in Arabic won't fall short of those in Hebrew.
"It is preferable to draw the necessary conclusions – in terms of preparing for similar situations in the future in a timely manner, such that the array of exams in the Arabic language won't fall short of those in Hebrew, while giving full weight to the status of the Arabic language in the state of Israel and to the well-being of students for whom Hebrew is not their native tongue," wrote the High Court of Justice (HCJ) in a ruling issued today (18.6.2019) relating to a petition to translate the computerized exam, which will be held tomorrow, in five geographic units.
Earlier this week, ACRI, along with a student and a teacher of geography in the Arab education system, petitioned the HCJ and the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee for education, demanding that the court instruct the Ministry of Education to translate into Arabic all computerized matriculation exams in five geographic units, scheduled to take place tomorrow, including the maps and accompanying text. The petition was filed by Attorney Tal Hassin of ACRI.
Following the petition, the Ministry of Education announced that the maps would be translated and sent to the students as a printed appendix to be included in the exam. After ACRI claimed that this solution was insufficient without significant additional time granted to take the exam, the Ministry of Education announced that it had decided to grant Arab students additional time. The Ministry further undertook that for the next matriculation exams in geography, the computerized exam in Arabic would include a full translation of all exam documents, including the maps and appendices.
Attorney Tal Hassin, who filed the petition, responded: "It is amazing that the Ministry of Education, which is supposed to take care of all students, Jews and Arabs, has not yet bothered to translate the exam for over a decade. This is discriminatory, degrading, and humiliating conduct, and I am glad that the Supreme Court has put an end to it. It did not stop there. It also obliged the Ministry of Education to give full weight to the special status of the Arabic language and to the well-being of students whose native language is not Hebrew. This ensures that such long-standing discrimination will not recur."
Following the verdict, the student that appealed said, "I am proud that I managed to achieve something important for myself and for all those seeking to take the exam in Arabic. I believe that when I take the exam tomorrow I will find translated maps."
Attorney: Tal Hassin
For further information (Hebrew)