During Wednesday`s meeting of the Knesset`s Education, Culture and Sports Committee on the preparations for the upcoming schoolyear, Education Minister Naftali Bennett listed his ministry`s achievements, including the addition a second assistant in kindergartens, reducing the number of children in first grade classrooms, and more.
Bennett announced that the goal is to have 18,000 students pass the five unit matriculation exam in math within four years. He said a similar plan will be implemented in the 2016-2017 schoolyear, whereby 2000 hours of English studies will be added for all the educational institutions in Israel. Another goal is to narrow the gap between the center and the periphery, he said, noting that NIS 50 million have been allocated towards providing transportation for Bedouin children to schools throughout the Negev.
”I am proud to head a system which cares for all segments of the population,” Bennett stated.
According to the Education Minister, the efforts to reduce the number of drop-outs will be increased significantly. He also mentioned that, starting this year, schools in the Arab sector will begin teaching Hebrew in the first grade.
Bennett also announced that the special education school year will be lengthened next year, until August 15, and there will be classes during the Tishrei holiday season.
Addressing ultra-Orthodox education, Bennett said that despite what has been claimed over the past few months, only 40,000 of the 400,000 haredi educational institutions are exempt from teaching the core curriculum. ”The law that was passed by the previous Knesset never went into effect, and it was supposed to be implemented only in 2018,” he told the committee.
”I’m not part of those crying over a law that never went into effect. We’re working with haredi schools that want to teach five units of mathematics and English. The key to success in haredi education is not talking, it’s doing,” Bennett added.
MK Aliza Lavie of Yesh Atid said in response that the plan was to implement the ”core curriculum law” in 2018 to allow ample time for recruiting teachers and training them.
Bennett pledged that his ministry would combat the discrimination in the enrollment process of all educational institutions, and particularly the ultra-Orthodox ones.
Education Committee Chairman MK Yakov Margi (Shas) said the committee would continue to discuss issues that have been voted on in the Knesset, including quality technological education, narrowing gaps, adding more classrooms, advancing informal education, traffic safety education, special education, parent payments, and more.
MKs Merav Ben Ari (Zionist Camp), Amir Ohana (Likud), Menachem Eliezer Moses (United Torah Judaism) and Oded Forer (Yisrael Beitenu) also took part in the meeting.