Shai Piron unveils Yesh Atid education platform at Blich High School in Ramat Gan.
(photo credit: ELAD GUTMAN)
Yesh Atid aims to establish Israel as one of the top 10 educational systems in the world within the next decade, party leader Yair Lapid said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a press conference at the Blich High School in Ramat Gan, along with former education minister Shai Piron, the duo presented their party’s education platform ahead of the upcoming March elections.
“We must establish an educational system that aims high – an educational system that takes responsibility for its children; for all its children, even the little ones,” said Lapid.
According to the proposed plan, the education system would continue to expand on several of Piron’s reforms, including his “Meaningful Learning – Israel Moves up a Grade” reform, which he unveiled in January 2014 as education minister. The reform aims to establish pedagogical continuity from preschool to higher education, as well as introduce new methods for academic measurement.
Among the major points of the party’s plan, the Education Ministry would be responsible for the entire educational system through high school graduation.
Currently, education and child care for children up to the age of three is under the authority of the Economy Ministry.
As such, with regard to early childhood education (for children between the ages of three and six) the party called for the establishment of early childhood day-care centers, longer preschool hours, and expanded professional training for teachers and caregivers.
In addition, Yesh Atid’s plan would introduce a second teaching assistant into every preschool classroom – an issue that has been at the center of parents’ protests throughout the country these past few weeks.
With regard to overcrowding in the schools, another issue that has made headlines this past year, the party’s plan calls to decrease the student-to-teacher ratio in elementary schools, also by introducing a second teaching assistant into the classroom.
The plan also calls for lengthening the school day to 16:45 for children from first to fourth grades.
The party’s proposal also called to expand Piron’s sumer school program, which was established this past summer as an alternative to expensive private summer camps, to first through fifth grades. The move would save parents some NIS 1,000 per child over the course of the summer.
“The education system is the heart of our national strength. The occupation of moral education, to deepen personal, community and national identity, alongside the talents of the children of Israel and placing them at the top of world rankings are achievable goals,” said Piron at the press conference.