New Hope presents emergency recovery plan for Israeli school system

New Hope presents emergency recovery plan for Israeli school system. 'Netanyahu gov't failed to educate and protect Israel's children.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Gideon Saar and Yifat Shasha-Biton
Gideon Saar and Yifat Shasha-Biton
Haim Versano

On Sunday, the chairman of the New Hope Party, Gideon Saar, together with the number two in New Hope’s list, Yifat Shasha-Biton, presented the party’s emergency plan to rehabilitate the Israeli education system.

In his opening remarks Sunday, Gideon Saar made clear that if he is elected premier in the upcoming elections, the New Hope party will be sure to hold the education ministerial portfolio, adding that the ministry would go to Yifat Shasha Biton, who holds a doctorate in education.

Presenting New Hope’s emergency plan to rehabilitate the Israeli education system following three national lockdowns, Saar and Shasha-Biton laid out 6 key steps they said were needed immediately to bridge the gaps in studies and enable students to catch up while continuing on in their academic endeavors.

The six steps laid out in the plan focus on reducing educational and learning gaps and providing emotional and social support to students who have been severely hindered in the past year, including more flexible study schedules, reinforcement classes for students when schools are closed, and transferring management powers to school principals.

“Unfortunately during the coronavirus crisis, the same government that failed to implement health and testing measures at Ben-Gurion Airport, and failed to keep so many businesses afloat, also failed to educate and protect Israel’s children," said Saar.

"Education should be based on long-term planning and vision, rooted in cohesive concepts. The current government has run education as if it were a seasonal gig – an improvisation act. This is how they treat the parents and children: just as statistics.”

Chair of the Knesset Corona Committee, MK Biton, added, “We are having deja-vu, getting out of the previous lockdown, like the first lockdowns, and nothing is clear – and unfortunately today we are at the exact same position. We propose at the practical level, to bring back the education system in a gradual and controlled manner. We suggest doing this in relation to the green and yellow areas, and let the heads of the local authorities manage this: they know the residents and the education system, and know how to manage it.”

Saar further clarified that the full program and vision in the field of education formulated by the party will soon be presented to the public.

The New Hope released its six-point plan in a statement Sunday afternoon.

1. From “School house” to “House of education”

"We will place an emphasis on the emotional, ethical and social aspects of education as key to the infrastructure for optimal learning, ensuring that our schools provide a fully comprehensive education.

The change will include strengthening the focus on educational counselling standards, social activities, trips, cultural events, integrating youth movements and organizations, and more."

2. Allowing head-teachers to run their schools

"The most efficient decision-making when it comes to issues relating to students and their teachers, is best undertaken by the school principals and head-teachers. This change, which the Ministry of Education must make, requires stepping away from the centralization of power, and is based on instilling trust, and the transfer of responsibilities and powers. This is exactly the change that needs to be made and it is one of the main ways in which New Hope will lead the significant reforms in the education system - in close cooperation with the education staff.

We will allow principals to make use of the allocation of teaching hours for the benefit of the unique needs of their schools, and will pass a flexible budget for the needs of the students."

3. Reducing literacy gaps in grades 1-3

"New Hope will work to overcome the learning gaps, with an emphasis on reading and writing for grades 1-3, in order to prevent future developmental delays.

In addition to advancing education for all ages, New Hope will ensure that children who require special assistance, are given a swift, effective, and personalized response."

4. No child will be left behind

"We will implement support and catch-up classes for children, even during times when schools are closed, in accordance with the guidelines, in groups of up to 5 pupils. This national project will be carried out by recruiting students for the Perach Mentoring Project.

The vast education system as it stands, is not succeeding to meet the needs of the individual student. Accordingly, when we find ourselves in a situation whereby our children are sitting at home for months on end, these needs are only mounting up. We will relate to each and every student personally, providing them with social meetings and effective learning through the required course of teaching in small groups."

5. Teachers on the frontline

"We will recruit teachers, providing them with a respectable, fitting salary to teach during the summer vacation to help bridge the gaps for all Israeli students, in cooperation with the teachers’ organizations.

Teachers who choose to do so will be able to enlist for one to one and a half months of teaching during the summer months, to receive appropriate compensation (in addition to their Ministry of Education salary), and to play a part in rescuing the education of many Israeli students."

6. High-school students on the road to higher education

"We will save the lost school year of high school students: 11th-12th of this year and 12th of last year. These students have been deeply affected by the corona crisis, and will be aided by intensive bridge programs to continue their higher education.

- Students who graduated with matriculation certificates, will be able to enter the first year of university studies without a psychometric exam. They will be able to enter their subsequent second year of studies based on their average grades to be determined in collaboration with the academic institutions.

- Students who did not achieve a matriculation certificate, will be eligible for entry to higher-education colleges without a psychometric exam, and will receive government subsidies – which will be made available for up to three years following the completion of military service."