Study: Pre-Primary Education to Cost 2.3 Billion

Implementing the lower age for compulsory education will cost the government 2.3 billion shekels, and 1.4 billion annually, study finds.

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Maayana Miskin,

Preschool children in Jerusalem
Preschool children in Jerusalem
Flash 90

The implementation of a decision to lower the age of compulsory education will cost the government 2.3 billion shekels this year, according to a study done by the Taub Center, an institution for socioeconomic research.

Most of the money is expected to go to teacher training and the creation of new classroom space as more parents enroll their preschool children in state-approved programs.

In addition, the initiative will cost 1.4 billion each year, the study found: 700 million in fees currently paid by parents will be shifted to the government, and 670 million in operating costs for children who are expected to be enrolled thanks to the initiative.

The law will drastically lower the cost of sending children ages 3 and 4 to daytime educational programs (ganim).

The authors of the study looked at the effect of lowering the age of compulsory education from 5 to 3 in low-income areas, a move that was implemented in 2000. The change dramatically increased preschool attendance in the Arab sector, where enrollment went from 49% to 71% between 2000 and 2010.

In the Jewish sector, enrollment rose considerably as well, going up by 27% between 2000 and 2010. The most dramatic increase was in the hareidi-religious sector, where preschool attendance rose by 57%. Enrollment in state preschools was up by 15%, and in state-religious schools, by 20%.

The study also noted the potential for a shortage of preschool teachers. Early childhood education students “are almost entirely female,” the authors said, and many are hareidi or Arab. “This hints at a possible future shortage of teachers in the state and state-religious preschools and a surplus of preschool teachers in the hareidi and Arab sectors,” they said.