Mar Elias Educational Institutions
Mar Elias Educational Institutions are constituted by a kindergarten, elementary, junior high, and high school as well as a college and a recently established university. The institution is under the direction of the archbishop Elias Chacour. The institutions are located in Ibillin, an Arab village in northern Israel. Arab students from all over the Galilee gather at the institutions regardless of their religion and political views.
The institutions started as a high school and a kindergarten in the beginning of the 1980s. The college was later added, and afterwards the elementary and junior high schools, and most recently the university.
Mar Elias High School
The high school is considered the centerpiece among the Mar Elias Institutions. There are more than 1200 students from all over the Galilee enrolled in its classes, and it is known to be one of the best 4 schools in Israel.
The students of Mar Elias High are encouraged to participate in programs which, among others, try to establish long term relationships with people from other backgrounds, such as Jews, Italians and Americans.
The students are asked to choose a major during the beginning of the 10th grade. The majors that are currently taught at Mar Elias High include:
- Computer Science
Mariam Bawardi Kindergarten
The Mariam Bawardi Kindergarten was founded in 1968, and it was the first Kindergarten in Ibillin. It started in priest Elias Chacour's humble office and bedroom, while he slept in his white Volkswagen.
The Kindergarten is now in a 3 story building which was established in 1978. It holds more than 200 children between the ages of three and five years old.
Miriam Bawardi Elementary School
The children that complete kindergarten can directly enroll to the Miriam Bawardi Elementary School which contains over 1000 students at the moment. The school received its license in 2001/2002.
The school shares a building with the Junior High School. The building was established in 2004 beside the High school.
Miriam Bawardi Junior High
Contains around 300 students, some of which are from outside of Ibillin.
Mar Elias College
Mar Elias College of Technology fulfills a unique role for Arab students in bridging the gap between High School and employment in trades, services and professions. It endeavours to provide the necessary support, encouragement and experience in order to enhance the students' chances of success in university or as members of the working community. Mar Elias College is the largest college in the Arab community in Israel with 384 students and 59 faculty members and has earned a well-documented reputation for excellence. Students come from 47 towns and villages throughout the country and most fulfill the requirements in their specific field of study for an official 2 year certificate from the Ministries of Education and Labour and Mar Elias College. The College adheres closely to the official curriculum laid down by the Israeli Ministry of Education and has a major focus in the area of high technology by offering courses in Computing Science, Communication Technology, Food Technology and Business Administration. Thus Mar Elias College students are prepared to take their place in the Israeli economic and labor market.
Mar Elias University
The Mar Elias University claims to be the first Arab university in Israel, though it does not have university status and operates as a branch of the University of Indianapolis. It educates primarily Muslim, Christian, and Druze students, although it also has Jewish students.
Although it is yet in its infancy, Mar Elias University contains 200 undergraduate students and 60 faculty members.