The Education and Finance ministries and the National Teachers Union reached a
landmark agreement on Sunday that will see teachers across the country receive a
51.35-percent pay rise in exchange for an increased workload.
Education Ministry praised the “historic agreement” for the secondary school
system, and vowed that the changes would go into effect beginning in the next
The changes would bring “a dramatic increase in teachers’
salaries, changes to teachers’ work weeks, and will create paths of promotion,
tenure and remuneration based on evaluation and excellence,” the ministry said
in a statement.
The “Strength to Give” (“Oz l’tmorah
”) reforms are
expected to cost over NIS 3 billion in teacher salary increases, as well as
hundreds of millions of shekels that the Education Ministry will invest in
improving the physical condition of schools.
Under the plan, secondary
school teachers who are members of the National Teachers Union will receive
51.35% salary increases. Other supplements will be available for those who are
recognized as achieving excellence in teaching.
To receive the pay
increases, teachers will be required to increase their work week from 24 hours
to 40 hours. Of these, 24 will be class teaching hours, six
will be individual teaching hours, and 10 will be spent in teaching
According to the Education Ministry, the individual hours will
be spent with small groups of students who need supplementary assistance,
enrichment of school curriculum, and programs to promote academic achievement
and strengthen connections between teachers and students.
described the teaching support hours as a framework in which educators “will
hold staff meetings, work on preparing lesson plans, grade student work, and
organize meetings with parents and students.”
To ensure that teachers put
in the required hours, teachers will have to swipe a time card, the ministry
The ministry said teachers could also receive “professional
development” supplements for receiving training in their fields.
reforms promise to provide work areas for each teacher, classrooms for teaching
small groups, and the building of a work environment suitable for
The complete reforms will be put in place in 50 pilot schools
in the next school year, and certain aspects of the reforms will go into effect
in all schools.
By the 2014-2015 school year the program will go into
effect fully in all secondary schools, the ministry said on Sunday.
plan was announced at a press conference at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s
office in Jerusalem, during which Netanyahu said that “like in other fields
where before people only talked [about reforms], also in the field of education
we are bringing important reforms.”
Also at the press conference,
Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar said that “today we are marking a historic date
in the education system. We are presenting a detailed agreement on reforms in
the secondary schools that will begin to go into effect starting next school
year. These reforms represent a new age in the education system and its
relations with the teachers organizations.
“Over the next decade we must
continue to invest in the same way we are currently investing in education, to
bring the school system to where it needs to be – among the best in the world,”
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said that “this reform will
cost us money, but it is worth gold.” He added “our human capital is our real
national treasure and we must make sure to nurture it.”
head of the Union of Local Authorities, said that while he and his group support
increasing teachers salaries, “we see it as a grave matter that they [the
Finance and Education ministries] signed off on a deal on teachers’ salaries
without entering negotiations with us, when the local authorities are the ones
who operate the schools.”
Buhbut also expressed dismay that the Finance
Ministry had not addressed what he said were the glaring budgetary deficits
suffered by local authorities across the country, while at the same time has
agreed to pay billions for teacher salary increases.
Ron Erez, the head
of the National Teachers Union who has overseen strikes in the past and on many
occasions butted heads with the Education Ministry and the Finance Ministry,
called Sunday “the beginning of a new era in the secondary school
In a statement posted on the Teachers Union website, Erez said
the union would continue to negotiate with the two ministries over a variety of
issues, including pensions and administrator salaries.
Also on Sunday,
Sa’ar responded to questions about reports that his ministry is looking to
shorten the summer vacation, saying that beginning the school year on August 26
instead of the traditional September 1 had been discussed. Sa’ar’s
representative said on Sunday evening that a decision on the matter would be
announced soon, but that in all likelihood the summer vacation would be
shortened by a few days, and the equivalent number of extra days off would be
added during the school year.