Computer Kid 311.
Although Israelis of all ages love technology, this country is only in 49th
place in the world in the number of children per PC in the schools; there is
only one computer for every 13 kids, said Knesset Science & Technology
Committee chairman MK Meir Sheetrit, who on Monday held a session on school
computerization attend by academics, educators and high-tech
Sheetrit said the situation in the schools is “clearly not
good.” The 49th spot is just above Turkey and Brazil and way behind the US,
Ireland and even Jordan.
“Israel is considered a hi-tech superpower, but
at this rate, we won’t remain so for much longer,” he warned, adding that
parents spend hundreds of shekels annually per pupil on buying schoolbooks, when
an inexpensive laptop can be bought and used to download all the books from the
Prof. Haim Harari, chairman of the board of the Davidson
Educational Institute and former president of the Weizmann Institute of Science,
said that “we’re living in a computerized world, and one shouldn’t have to beg
in the Knesset for the purchase of computers for schools. Since 1993, we have
been saying that every pupil needs a computer of his own rather than to practice
in a computer lab.”
Buying a new computer for each pupil once in three
years constitutes only two or three percent of the annual education budget. He
said he places his hopes on young teachers who grew up using a computer at
According to Education Ministry science and technology
administration director Dr. Ofer Rimon, the upcoming two-year budget will see
the investment of a billion shekels for this purpose and adding NIS 12,000 more
science teaching hours.
The ministry will soon issue a directive to all
curriculum developers that their work must be produced as a digital as well as
The non-profit Center for Educational Technology
presented the committee with a project in which thousands of textbooks and other
material will be put on the Web. This will help pupils – and teachers – expand
their knowledge, said CET director Gila Ben Har, who predicted that parents will
pay half the cost of a digital book and will be able to purchase a laptop in
easy installments for their children.
The state will work with hardware
suppliers to cut prices for all, she said.
Minister Michael Eitan, whose
portfolio is state Internet services, said that there is no official standard
for school computers.
Sheetrit concluded with a call to the Education
Ministry to set clear guidelines on school computers and called on Eitan to
ensure that all schools are connected to the best broadband
“Internet is our pupils’ tool to compete with the world,” he
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