Most children aged three and four will be able to attend preschool for free next year, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar told the Knesset Education Committee on Monday.
In addition, the Knesset Finance Committee unanimously voted to authorize a NIS 1.3 billion addition to the Education Ministry budget in order to implement the early childhood education plan and build new preschools.
Although the government decision to provide free education to three and four year olds, as well as the Trajtenberg Committee on social change’s recommendations on the matter, did not say it must implement the 2012-2013 school year, Sa’ar called it his “mission” to do so to the extent possible. In addition, the Education Ministry is committed to providing free education to all three- and four-year-olds within three years.
“The Education Ministry has already begun implementing the plan, with an immediate time frame,” Sa’ar said. “This is a huge undertaking, a mega-project that is important in many ways.
One-third of three and four year olds are already in free educational frameworks, while another third are in partially-subsidized preschools, he explained, adding that this would make it easier to put the government plan into action by September. In addition, the Education Ministry has prepared a “fast track” for private preschools to receive licenses.