Piron’s plan: More education, fewer exams

New education minister plans overhaul of "failing education system," making it less achievement-oriented.

piron370 (photo credit: courtesy)
(photo credit: courtesy)
In his first address to the Knesset last month, MK Shai Piron made clear: “Education is the key to the future.”
“There are amazing, talented young people in the Israeli education system as well as many teachers ready to dedicate themselves to their educational mission,” he continued, “Despite this, the Israeli education system still lags behind.”
As he is expected to be appointed education minister next week, Yesh Atid’s No. 2 said he is nervous about his new responsibility, which he called “the real nation defense ministry, and reiterated his commitment to “overhauling the failing education system.”
“I very much hope that the education system, in the next few years will deal with more education and less achievements,” he said in an interview with Ynet on Thursday.
“It will focus on turning young people into human beings for whom courtesy precedes the Torah; it will deal with language and conduct; it will emphasize education and solidarity,” he added.
Among Piron’s plans for the education system, the Yesh Atid platform calls for only four mandatory matriculation exams for high school students: Hebrew, English, mathematics and one elective subject.
According to the party, these subjects include specific informational goals, for which teaching for the tests is ideal. However, in other mandatory subjects, such as Bible, heritage, history and science, teachers will be free to teach in whichever way they choose.
The Yesh Atid platform states that reducing the amount of high school exams will “expand the students’ minds and truly inculcate a love for learning and a deeper appreciation of these subjects.”
Piron also intends to focus on improving the integration of children in special education program into the regular system, offering students in the periphery better opportunities, and combating racism and discrimination in education, he told Ynet.
According to its agenda published online, Yesh Atid also proposes that at least half of the country’s schools become technological, vocational schools, geared to each sector in the same manner as schools are currently designated: state secular, state religious and ultra-Orthodox.
“This will enable those non-classic students to flourish and be prepared for life with the tools necessary to earn a living with a professional certificate in hand upon graduation from high school,” the party stated.
“This will also free teachers to truly inspire the more classic students with a liberal arts education without expending their energy on students who don’t want to be there and simply cannot succeed.”
The Education portfolio awakened much debate in the past week as the position of minister hung in the balance between the incumbent, the Likud’s Gideon Sa’ar, and Piron.
“I am very very happy that the Education portfolio became so exclusive and so important that, at least according to what is described in the media, this portfolio delayed to a certain extent the completion of the coalition,” Piron told Ynet.