(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
The Education Ministry has eliminated a long-running course that formally
accredits new immigrant teachers and enables them to work in Israel. The
Ministry has also fired all of its ‘Morim Olim,’ whose job was to assist
immigrant teachers to navigate the bureaucracy of the education system, The
Jerusalem Post learned Wednesday.
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In a statement to the Post, an
Education Ministry spokeswoman explained that the move was made ahead of this
academic year following recommendations in the State Comptroller’s report to
streamline the process. The new olim teachers would now be able to receive
assistance from the education departments in their regions, she said, just as do
native-born and locally trained teachers.
However, both the Immigrant
Absorption Ministry and aliya organization Nefesh B’Nefesh, which assists in the
absorption of English-speaking immigrants, have criticized the decision and both
say they plan to fight the move at the highest levels.
“We demand that an
appropriate response be provided for the treatment of new immigrant teachers as
soon as possible and that ‘Morim Olim’ be reinstated in order to reduce any
damage that has been done to new immigrant teachers, who must also deal with the
multitude of immigration challenges.” So wrote Dimitri Apartsez, Director
General of the Immigrant Absorption Ministry, to his counterpart at the
Education Ministry Shimshon Shoshani, in an October 11 letter.
an absurd decision considering that the country is in need of teachers and that
there is a budget exactly for this purpose; now hundreds of immigrant teachers
will remain unemployed,” wrote Apartsez, emphasizing that each ministry is given
a budget for enhancing immigrant employment in its sector.
for Nefesh B’Nefesh said the move was “very unfortunate.”
“We are very
aware of this problem and we have taken the issue to the highest authority
within the Education Ministry in the hopes of finding a solution,” she
Avraham Pinson, a trained high school teacher from Baltimore who
made aliya in 2008, said he had been hoping to take the ministry’s free
accreditation course this semester. However, after signing up for it last spring
and making plans accordingly, Pinson found out that it had been scrapped purely
by chance, when he called last month to finalize the details.
situation is pretty crazy and now I am left just kind of hanging here,” said
Pinson, who now lives in Jerusalem. “I have found another program, a masters’
degree in education, but it takes place in Tel Aviv and am not sure it’s really
“Any other course I apply for will cost me a lot of money and
will mean a lot more studies.,” lamented Pinson. “Even if I want to become an
English teacher or give private lessons, I still need to be certified. I am very
down about it. This is my profession and I don’t think I can advance in it
unless I can do this course,” he added.
Commented one teacher, a veteran
immigrant, who preferred to remain anonymous, “They [Morim Olim] helped us cut
through all the bureaucracy as much as they could. Even after 12 years I still
don’t understand all the ins and outs of the education system, and most oleh
teachers don’t know how to get such benefits as teacher service credits, which
raise your salary,” he said.
Added the teacher, “[The department] was
responsible for English speakers and Russian speakers, and helped us to navigate
the system and knock on people’s doors until the matter was resolved. The
ministry is penny wise and pound foolish.
They’re going to lose a whole
bunch of great oleh teachers who will get sick and tired of the system. Many of
us give up a great deal to come here, and they have a sink or swim attitude
towards us.”Ben Hartman contributed to this report.