Yifat Shasha-Biton
Yifat Shasha-Biton Gili Yaari/Flash90

The Israeli government on Monday morning approved a request from Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton (New Hope) to incorporate the Ministry for Higher Education into the Education Ministry.

The Ministry of Higher Education is one of the five ministries the government voted to shutter.

The proposal, presented Monday by Shasha-Biton, included the transfer of several domains, among them the activities of youth movements and youth organizations, to the authority and responsibility of the Education Ministry.

The transfer will create an educational continuum which will allow the system to care for the child from preschool until college. In addition, the change will improve work efficacy and reduce the number of positions and manpower needed.

The move is part of a widescale process by the Education Minister to create continuity in the various parts of the educational system, so that they feed into each other instead of being disconnected from each other. The unification of these areas will allow informal education, including youth movements, to occur throughout the day, in the mornings, within schools, and in the evenings after school hours.

Also on Monday, the government approved the transfer of daycare centers for children ages three months to three years from the Labor Ministry to the Education Ministry. The transfer will be made at the beginning of 2022, giving the Education Ministry, for the first time, complete control over all government-approved educational programs and institutions, from birth through college.

According to Calcalist, the transfer will include pedagogy, development, and the training of the daycare staff. Subsidies for the daycares will remain under the Economy Ministry.

As part of the transfer, the Education Ministry will receive an additional 200 million shekel ($60,611,570), which will be approved as part of the state budget. This amount is significantly lower than the billions previous Education Ministers demanded in order to equate the service provided in daycares to that provided in preschools, Calcalist noted.

In addition, the Labor branch, which until now had been part of the Labor and Welfare Ministry, will move to the Economy Ministry. Daycare subsidies will move along with the Labor branch to the authority of the Economy Ministry, not the Education Ministry.

The Education Ministry has said that it will begin to increase supervision of daycares immediately upon receipt of the responsibility for them, Calcalist added. According to them, training for the staff has already begun, along with amendments to the Supervision Law and Cameras Law.

In 2019, then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz promised to move daycares for children ages 0-3 from the Economy Ministry to the Education Ministry.

At the time, Naftali Bennett, now Prime Minister, said: "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."