Economic growth is essential for improving the troubled education system, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday.
"The education system in Israel is in trouble," he said in an address at the Globes Business Conference in Tel Aviv. "The key to advance the country's education system is economic growth."
Netanyahu said improving human capital, information and innovation were the main growth engines for Israel.
"We are coming out of the crisis and are on the path back to growth," he said. "But there is no room for euphoria yet. We still don't know if the global economy will return to growth in the coming years, and there are still potential risks to the Israeli economy."
"The main question facing us is how we can see to it that Israel will grow faster than other countries in the coming years," Netanyahu said. "As part of these efforts we need to lower taxes, improve the business environment by removing obstacles, create a faster transportation system and reform the Israel Lands Administration." "But this is not enough," he said. "The added value will come from faster information and innovation, and the key to the knowledge industries is, of course, education. Better education will also lead us to stronger growth."
The first step to deal with the problems in the education system is to appoint qualified people, such as Education Minister Gideon Saar, Netanyahu said.
"The second step is backing," he said. "We will give support to the required reforms in the education system. We need to provide segments of the population with low participation in the labor market, such as haredim and minority groups, with the basic skills needed to get integrated into the information industries."
"We need to include basic tools in every school for everyone to be educated in mathematics and foreign languages, such as English or introducing Chinese," Netanyahu said. "It is important as a way to help the weak and poor, here and now. Not everyone can be a hi-tech engineer, but we need to make sure that we can help everyone achieve their potential."