Yaffa Ben David: 'If we have small classes, we can close the gap in six weeks'

Yaffa Ben David, Sec. Gen. of Israel Teachers Union, says schools received no information on 'summer school' program, teachers need vacation.

103FM ,

Yaffa Ben David
Yaffa Ben David
Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90

Israel's Education Ministry has announced that school will continue for three extra weeks, but the Israel Teachers Union (ITU) has not yet received information other than what has been published in the media.

In an interview with 103 FM Radio, ITU Secretary General Yaffa Ben David said that no principal had heard anything about the Education Ministry's summer plan.

"No one came to tell us, 'This is what teachers will receive, this is what teachers will do," she said, emphasizing that the lack of information is both with regards to curriculum and to payment. "Just like they did with the coronavirus plans, working above the principals' heads - it's the same here. This is why everything looks like this."

"We aren't opposing anything," she emphasized. "If a student wants to come - he'll come. If a teacher wants to come - he'll come. No one will tell a teacher, 'You have to come.' I am looking at what happened on Hanukkah, when just 15% of teachers worked in schools during the holidays."

"This year was difficult for everyone, and it really exhausted the teaching staff. I walk around schools and see exhausted people. The teachers want vacation so that they can store up energy for the coming year, because this year was like seven years of teaching. What they went through in the south was also not so simple. Until yesterday morning, no agreement had been signed with the local authority which runs the summer school."

Regarding the academic gaps resulting from the pandemic, Ben David said: "Everyone is screaming about the academic gaps, but I am meeting principals, teachers, and students, and really, the gaps are not so large. The small classes really contributed a lot to the children, both emotionally and academically, so teachers managed to close the gaps."

She added that if the government wants to use the pandemic to improve the school system, "it will keep the small classes. If they give us the small classes, we can close the gap in a month and a half. I'm saying that from experience."