Bennett: We'll ensure daycares are under the Education Ministry

New Right chairman promises to push daycares from Labor Ministry to Education Ministry - if he wins enough seats in September's elections.

Orly Harari ,

Bennett at Israel Prize ceremony
Bennett at Israel Prize ceremony
Flash 90

Former Education Minister Naftali Bennett (New Right) promised to push to move daycares for children under 3 to the Education Ministry if his party receives enough political support in the upcoming elections.

"The years from birth to age 5 are the most crucial in a child's mental, emotional, and physical development," Bennett explained. "To a large extent, this is the age which decides the child's entire future life. Our youngest children need the best and most professional care available."

Bennett also admitted that during his term as Economy Minister, he believed that the responsibility for daycares was in the right place: Under the Economy Ministry.

"I made a mistake," he admitted. "It shouldn't be."

"After I served four years as Education Minister, responsible for children ages 3 to 18, I dived into the field of children under 3 - adding a second assistant, offering mentors for preschool teachers, and other things. I think I'm the only minister, certainly in the last few dozen years, who served in both capacities. And I've formed a definite opinion: Children's education between birth and three years of age belongs under the Education Ministry.

"The educational system specializes in education. Not in employment and economy. In education. The educational system is better at training preschool teachers and assistants. The educational system is better at preschool teachers' professional development. The educational system is better at supervision of violent or abnormal events. A daycare is not a babysitter, it's an educational home for children who are at the most critical age."

Bennett also said that three years ago, after Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) left his position as Labor Minister, he saw an opportunity to make the change: "I pressured the Prime Minister to transfer the daycares from the Labor Ministry to the Education Ministry. The Prime Minister created a committee, which clearly recommended the move."

"It costs a lot of money, so it needs to be done gradually, over the course of several years. But it needs to start somewhere. The source for the money is transferring the daycares' budget from the Labor Ministry to the Education Ministry. But then a new Labor Minister took office, and he called a halt to the process.

"The education for children under 3 must be transferred to the educational system. If the New Right has enough political power, we will insist on moving these children to the Education Ministry."