There was a dramatic rise in the number of Bedouin students who passed their matriculation exams this year, according to Education Ministry figures.

The data show an average increase of 4.6 percent, though students in the city of Rahat did far better: The number of students who passed their exams rose from 42 percent to 54.96 percent.

Rahat Mayor Faiz Abu Sahiban said the large jump in his city was the result of joint efforts by the municipality, school management, teachers and parents. And he said that “as a man who comes from the education system” he believes that it is the best way to improve society.

“Rahat’s image is very bad,” said Abu Sahiban. “In the media we are known for violence and problems and today everyone sees Rahat as a successful town.”

The ministry’s Bedouin community inspector, Ali Alkarnoi, said Bedouin schools in general and especially in Rahat have been working to build a personal curriculum for each student, to improve his achievements. “We focused on the weaker children to lead them to succeed and pass matriculation exams ... Today we see the results of our investment over the past three years.” Alkarnoi says narrowing education gaps will open doors for Bedouin children that have previously been closed.