School children in class.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Forum of Regional Parents’ Unions has been rolling out a wave of disruptions in school schedules across the country, fighting the overcrowding of classrooms.
The strikes, known as “the sardine protest,” shut down the first hour of studies in elementary schools in the center region and in all Education Ministry institutions in Dimona on Wednesday.
Select schools in Lehavim, Arad, Pardess Hanna, Karkur, Shimshit, and Afula remained empty for the first two periods Thursday morning and schools in Kfar Tavor, Gadera, Karmiel, Tirat Hacarmel, Petah Tikva, Kiryat Ono, Ganei Tikva, and Brenner Regional Council are set to strike for part or all of the day on Friday.
The demands of the forum revolve around the number of children per classroom, which they state should be no more than 32 starting in the upcoming 2015/16 school year. The forum is also demanding that the budget for additional teachers come from the Education Ministry and that student teachers be added to classrooms to assist.
The National Parents’ Association condemned the disruptions on Tuesday evening, calling them “wild” and stating that they “cause damage to the children and to the education system.”
The association said they are in discussions with the Education Ministry to deal with the issue and find “the best answers for Israeli children.”
“If the cooperation [with the Education Ministry] does not bear fruit,” it added, “then the association will have to take the legal steps at its disposal.”
The Education Ministry issued a statement Monday evening addressing the disruptions to the schedule, saying that they are in talks with the National Parents’ Association and the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel. It also said Michal Cohen, director-general of the Education Ministry, has instructed regional directors to engage in ongoing dialogue with the parents’ representatives in their regions to find solutions to local problems.