'The Time has Come for Education'
The Hakol Hinuch movement (Movement for the Advancement of Education in Israel) has announced a new proposed law to make education a higher national priority. The proposal was announced at a press conference Sunday.
The law would give the government of Israel full and sole responsibility for educating Israeli children. It would define the services due to each student, and give preference to students with special needs and those from weak socio-economic backgrounds.
It would also clarify the conditions under which a school can officially register, create a core curriculum, and encourage more people to work as teachers.
“The time has come for education,” said MK Zevulun Orlev (Jewish Home). “This law will bring about a revolution.”
“It should be noted that if we wanted to make our investment in education equal to the average among OECD nations, we would need to add another 9 billion shekels to the budget,” he said. The government “will not volunteer to pass this law of its own free will,” he warned.
Industrialist and Israeli Prize winner Dov Lautman explained the motivation behind the law. “The socio-economic gaps in Israeli society have grown to worrying proportions,” he said. “I'm much more worried by these gaps than by Iran and Hizbullah together. I don't want to see this become a country where 27% of the youth don't learn math or English.”
“Our security depends in part on the level of education in Israeli society,” he added.
Israel has four main school systems: the regular public school system, the religious public schools, hareidi-religious “independent” schools, which are partially funded by the government, and Arab schools. Many hareidi schools do not teach secular subjects on the high-school level.
In 2009, less than half of high school graduates qualified for a matriculation-level diploma (Bagrut). The gap in academic achievement was found to have grown, with 64% passing their Bagrut in Israel's leading towns, and less than 50% doing so in other towns, on average.
Hakol Hinuch is an apolitical public organization whose members include MKs, rabbis, businessmen, and academics.