The Students of the Tel Aviv Youth University – a project which enables periphery high-school students to take academic courses on the university – have explored the future society. Representing the young generation perspective, they pointed out dilemmas and issues that they’ll present as a challenge to the decision-makers, locally and globally.
The first phase was a journey of learning and researching various problems related to the current reality and the future of the Israeli society, through tours and lectures in a variety of subjects.
As part of the research, using a “futures wheel” method, the student assumed that robots would do the routine jobs and therefore there won’t be enough jobs left for migrants, who have inappropriate skills. Therefore, the children of the refugees should have the same education as the Israelis, otherwise they will be pushed into a life of poverty and even crime. Following these assumptions, the group chose to deal with the issue of education for refugee children.
During the second phase of the activity, the students received practical tools that enabled them to learn different ways to express their opinions, engage large audiences and reach decision makers like lectures about social activity, lobbying, media workshops and more.
With that knowledge on their mind, the young students wrote down a brief for their campaign: they explained the issue, its relevance to the future society, and the ways that they were willing to act.
Then they started to film a short commercial to express their message. You can watch the result here:
The students of Tel Aviv Summer University took a tour to the south of Tel Aviv city – where a lot of disadvantaged communities live. They learned about problems of the refugee’, the newcomers to the neighborhood, and of the host population.
Using the future wheel method, which they have practiced while being led by Dr. Tal Soffer, head of the unit for technology and society foresight (TSF) at Tel Aviv University, they tried to understand what would be the expression of the problem in the future.
The discussion started with the understanding that developments in transportation have led to a situation in which migration is sometimes easier, and the developments in communications and consumerism have led to raising awareness among populations to the gap between them and the developed countries. All of these are increasing the desire to emigrate. Then, they wrote the headline “Refugees – The Young Generation”, and the arrows from the headline point to the words “Poverty”, “Connection to Israelis”, “Crime”, “Overcrowding”, “Employment” and “Education”. The word “Overcrowding” was associated with the word “Higher Education” (in the context of innovative housing solutions) and the word “Employment” was linked to the words “Robots” and “Unemployment”.
Then, they figured out that the solution is education, so they had written the word “Education” and the arrows pointed to the words: “Budget,” “Socialization”, “Language”, “Computer Science”, “Motivation”, “Exact sciences”. They also examined various aspects of the question of socialization.
A major milestone for The Tel Aviv Summer University program was achieved as the young students presented their projects in their graduation ceremony. The program was led by Dr. Tal Soffer, head of The unit for technology and society foresight (TSF) at Tel Aviv University, and the Youth Summer University’s staff. The students were exposed to various issues related to the digital society in the present and in the future, focusing on the Israeli society. It was done through various tours in relevant places and lectures about different subjects. Following that, the students were asked to identify a problem that would be important in the year 2030, to explore it, analyze, and propose creative solutions that will engage with large audiences and reach the decision makers. The work was done in teams where the students could express their opinion in a moderated dialog.
During the graduation ceremony the WYRED project was presented, and the students showcased their projects to a wide audience including (no : necessary) senior representatives from the Israeli Ministry of Education, researchers from Tel Aviv University, visitors from the third sector, educators and the families of the participants. You can have a small glimpse of two scenes video clip from one of the team projects, which deals with the refugees issue:
(Shown in the picture above : The young students are standing in front of a slide that says “Thank you” in a special font that combines letters in Hebrew and Arabic).