Ahead of the start of the academic year, the Education Ministry has contributed some NIS 10 million in scholarships for university students participating in the Sahlab project, which brings students in the field of education to work in Israel's kindergartens and elementary schools.
"This [project] helps university students to get scholarships and advance their studies, and at the same time brings a real contribution to communities," said Esti Ron, the national head of the Education Ministry's Department for Educational Methods and Models.
Sahlab, an acronym that stands for "University Students Joining Schools and Kindergartens," is beginning its fourth year of operation. The project has brought thousands of students studying in Israel's higher education faculties to gain hand-on experience assisting in kindergartens and elementary schools throughout the country, and particularly in northern and southern peripheral towns.
Students will work in schools that are part of the long school day programs - in which schools continue operating after regular hours with enrichment activities - and will give schools the added manpower needed to operate during the extra hours. The students will run extra-curricular programs of their choosing in music, drama, cooking, computers, chess, world cultures, and more.
"The students won't work [with the children] on a one-on-one basis, but rather in groups, in experiential programs," Ron explained, adding that the work is carried out "in close cooperation with the teacher." The yearly scholarship offered by the Sahlab project amounts to NIS 5,030, or some 60 percent of annual university tuition.