The Education Ministry and Wikipedia are joining forces to enable Israeli pupils to fill in missing information on the online encyclopedia’s site, it was announced Tuesday.
Education Minister Shai Piron and Jan-Bart de Vreede, chairman of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, have agreed on a collaborative program to train history, geography and science teachers to guide their students in editing and adding to Wikipedia articles.
“It is important for us that the education system in Israel will lead the innovation and collaboration with Wikipedia and provide a wonderful opportunity to think outside the box and allow students in Israel to do things which will also influence others,” Piron said.
This agreement marks the first systematic collaboration between an education system and the Wikimedia movement.
In addition to this project, the Education Ministry will examine the possibility of having foreign-language students write Wikipedia entries about Israel in their mother tongues.
“I am glad to know that Wikipedia in Israel has an open door to the Education Ministry and to the education minister,” said de Vreede. “Israel is currently one of the leading countries in its integration of Wikipedia into education and academia, and I welcome the desire of the education minister to adopt Wikipedia and act together [with] teachers, students and volunteers of Wikipedia to support Wikipedia, the largest free content repository in the world.”
The ministry and Wikimedia have already cooperated on a number of experimental projects, under which teachers receive training in the “wise use” of Wikipedia and content writing, outstanding middle school students write Wikipedia entries, and elementary school pupils are trained to use the site properly. Furthermore, hundreds of entries are written by university students as part of their coursework in higher-education institutions, often instead of a final exam or project.
“I hope that the common working model with the Ministry of Education in Israel will serve as an example of a model for other education systems around the world,” added de Vreede.