In his first address to the Knesset last month, MK Shai Piron made clear:
“Education is the key to the future.”
“There are amazing, talented young
people in the Israeli education system as well as many teachers ready to
dedicate themselves to their educational mission,” he continued, “Despite this,
the Israeli education system still lags behind.”
As he is expected to be
appointed education minister next week, Yesh Atid’s No. 2 said he is nervous
about his new responsibility, which he called “the real nation defense ministry,
and reiterated his commitment to “overhauling the failing education
“I very much hope that the education system, in the next few
years will deal with more education and less achievements,” he said in an
interview with Ynet on Thursday.
“It will focus on turning young people
into human beings for whom courtesy precedes the Torah; it will deal with
language and conduct; it will emphasize education and solidarity,” he
Among Piron’s plans for the education system, the Yesh Atid
platform calls for only four mandatory matriculation exams for high school
students: Hebrew, English, mathematics and one elective
According to the party, these subjects include specific
informational goals, for which teaching for the tests is ideal. However, in
other mandatory subjects, such as Bible, heritage, history and science, teachers
will be free to teach in whichever way they choose.
The Yesh Atid
platform states that reducing the amount of high school exams will “expand the
students’ minds and truly inculcate a love for learning and a deeper
appreciation of these subjects.”
Piron also intends to focus on improving
the integration of children in special education program into the regular
system, offering students in the periphery better opportunities, and combating
racism and discrimination in education, he told Ynet.
According to its
agenda published online, Yesh Atid also proposes that at least half of the
country’s schools become technological, vocational schools, geared to each
sector in the same manner as schools are currently designated: state secular,
state religious and ultra-Orthodox.
“This will enable those non-classic
students to flourish and be prepared for life with the tools necessary to earn a
living with a professional certificate in hand upon graduation from high
school,” the party stated.
“This will also free teachers to truly inspire
the more classic students with a liberal arts education without expending their
energy on students who don’t want to be there and simply cannot
The Education portfolio awakened much debate in the past week
as the position of minister hung in the balance between the incumbent, the
Likud’s Gideon Sa’ar, and Piron.
“I am very very happy that the Education
portfolio became so exclusive and so important that, at least according to what
is described in the media, this portfolio delayed to a certain extent the
completion of the coalition,” Piron told Ynet.