Appearing on Wednesday before the Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee on the preparations for the coming school year, Education Minister Naftali Bennett listed his ministry’s achievements, including adding a second teacher’s assistant in kindergarten classes, and reducing the number of children in first grade classrooms.
Bennett announced that his goal is to have 18,000 students pass the five unit matriculation exam in math within the next four years. He also said the 2016-2017 school year will see an additional 2,000 hours of English studies in all the educational institutions in Israel. Another goal is to narrow the education gap between central and peripheral communities in Israel. Bennett noted that $13.26 million have been allocated to transportation of Bedouin children to schools throughout the Negev. And, starting this year, schools in the Arab sector will begin teaching Hebrew in the first grade.
“I am proud to head a system that cares for every segment of the population,” Bennett said.
According to Bennett, his ministry’s efforts to reduce the number of high school dropouts will be increased significantly. And the special education school year will be extended to August 15, with classes continuing during the September-October holiday season.
Addressing ultra-Orthodox education, Bennett said that 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 one of those who cry 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, whose party held the Education portfolio in the previous government, said in response that the plan to implement the “core curriculum law” in 2018 was intended to allow ample time for recruiting and training core curriculum teachers.
Bennett also pledged that his ministry would combat ethnic discrimination in the enrollment process of all educational institutions, particularly the ultra-Orthodox.JNi.Media