Children using tablet computer 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Thomas Peter)
report expressed doubts as to the ability of the Education Ministry to tackle
the issue of integrating students with special needs into the regular school
According to the report, the issue, which has been under debate
for over 10 years, has not advanced much since.
As of 2012, out of the
1.9 million children in the Israeli education system, some 160,000 are
considered students with special needs. About 73,000 of them study in special
education schools, while the remaining 87,000 are enrolled in regular schools
across the country.
Such students are entitled to study in special
education programs since the implementation of the special education law in
1988. In such schools, pupils receive appropriate physiological or behavioral
treatment along with their academic studies.
Back in 2002, the state
comptroller pointed out that while the education system allocated appropriate
resources to specialeducation schools, students with special needs studying in
regular classrooms received much more limited funding, causing the financial
burden to fall on their families and primarily harming kids from
socioeconomically weaker communities.
Following this observation, the
Education Ministry established the Dorner Committee in 2007 to address the
The committee’s report called for children with special needs to
receive a set basket of services – one which would accompany them in any
educational framework they chose.
In 2012 – ten years after the state
comptroller made his initial observations – the number of students with special
needs learning in regular schools had not increased, but rather decreased from
66 percent to 44%, Wednesday’s report stated.
The education budget for
these pupils remained the same as it was ten years ago, despite the
According to the report, another problem remains:
educators in regular schools regularly lack the tools to assist children with
special needs who have behavioral or emotional disorders.
presented in the report argued that only 17% of special-needs children learning
in regular schools receive the appropriate and adapted treatment.
document also observed that according to the Education Ministry’s timetable for
making progress with the issue, effective integration – assuming the ministry
actually begins the process of implementation – will not be completed before
2020, almost 20 years after the original recommendations.
“The failure to
provide for those basic needs [of the students] – along with the schedule
established for implementation of the recommendations – raises severe doubts as
to the Education Ministry’s ability to make the necessary changes, in order to
fulfill the instructions of the law,” the report stated.
minister attaches great importance to the integration of students with special
needs in regular education and allocates resources for the benefit of this
cause,” the ministry wrote in a statement.
The ministry also said it
works to promote a safe school climate and to establish the right conditions for
students with behavioral or emotional disorders.
Last month, Education
Minister Shai Piron, at the third annual Akim conference on the inclusion of
people with disabilities into society, said that in the planning of future
schools, the separation between special education schools and regular schools
would no longer be made.
The minister also said that he would work to
increase the number of teachers with disabilities teaching in regular schools.