Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar briefed ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting
Sunday on the implementation of a ministry initiative that expands school
registration zones, allowing parents to choose from a larger selection of
establishments when enrolling their children for the next school year.
pupils in Israel are, by law, assigned to a school according to the area where
they reside, parents cannot decide which school their children attend.
Geographical location is the decisive factor.
The new project, which
started as registrations for the 2013-2014 school year began last week, enables
parents and students in the participating cities to select their school
according to pedagogical considerations, such as the school’s specializations,
or its philosophy, while remaining limited to their municipality. This will,
however, only be applicable to pupils entering first grade.
had authorized a first step to this approach in 2010, when the ministry
conducted an experimental program with this approach involving 19 schools in
four different cities.
This year, some 150 schools are expected to take
part in the expansion in 15 municipalities across the country, namely Rishon
Lezion, Ra’anana, Yavne, Ramat Gan, Petah Tikva, Bat Yam, Netanya, Mevaseret
Zion, Usifiya, Kiryat Tivon, Acre, Afula, Kiryat Shmona, Beit She’an and
The schools joining the initiative are mostly unique institutions
with different specializations such as music, arts or sciences.
schools that emphasize environmental teachings will also be
Education Ministry statistics showed that during the
experimental program in 2010, one in five students to whom the option was
offered chose to attend a different school than the one they would normally have
been required to attend in their designated area.
The data also found
that over 90 percent of children who requested a specialized school were granted
their first choice.
Sa’ar said in a statement that the move “strengthens
the public education system” as it will “allow parents and students to make
informed choices about educational institutions while maintaining a clear
principle of equal opportunity.”
“Expanding the choices will strengthen
excellence and enhance specialization in education, which will help meet the
diverse needs of students in the public school system,” he added.