Rafi Peretz requests to open daycares, schools return in online classrooms

Peretz said in a Facebook post that his request to re-open preschools and grade school up to third grade was rejected during the Saturday night ministerial meeting.

A child sits at the computer (photo credit: FLICKR)
A child sits at the computer
(photo credit: FLICKR)
Education Minister Rafi Peretz stated in a Facebook post on Sunday that he requested during the government meeting on new restrictions to gradually re-open daycares, but his request was denied.
"At the ministerial meeting to manage the coronavirus crisis, I presented my plan for a gradual return to the education system's routine," Peretz stated.
"I am glad that the special education proposal was accepted at the meeting, and studies in emergency protocols have begun this week," he continued. "The request regarding the gradual return of preschools and first to third grades was not accepted, and I urge that as soon as there is more relief in the restrictions, we may return preschools to routine, albeit a very different routine."
Meanwhile, Israeli students returned to school on Sunday after their elongated Passover holiday, switching to online classrooms to further their education amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Parents and teachers alike have been protesting the manner in which the Education Ministry has returned the classrooms online, claiming that it is impossible for school to function in this manner, according to Israel's N12 News.
One of the main problems is that in a household with several children, there are not enough computers for each child to study in their respective classrooms at the same time.
Peretz justified the actions of the Education Ministry, explaining that the ministry "sent recommendations for administrators and teachers to standardize distance learning."
This new method requires major participation from the parents, which is not necessarily possible with their professions or other household work.
After several calls were made for the school year to drag on into summer vacation, the Teachers' Union stated that they would not be going "beyond nine days" into the summer vacation.
The union explained that it offered "nine days from the summer vacation, which are worth NIS 450 million each day, meaning NIS 4 billion. There is no other union that has donated so much money on its own. Teaching staffs do not have accumulated vacation days and everything they give comes at their expense."
The union went on to accuse the Finance Ministry of trying to "take advantage of the situation" by "inciting against the teaching staff."
The conclusion reached by the Teachers' Union is that whoever wishes for them to continue teaching into the summer, "put their hand in their pocket and pay."
"The coronavirus must not widen the gaps in education, and so it is necessary that principals, teachers and of course parents make every effort so that every student integrates into the content taught, each framework as appropriate," Peretz insisted.
With the all-too-common attention deficit disorder (ADD) and other such learning disabilities rampant in elementary, middle, and high school students, learning through the video conferencing application Zoom is no easy feat.
Meanwhile, the National Parent Council has called the online classrooms a massive failure. "Distance learning in its current form is a sad joke that was not considered in-depth; it looks great in presentation but is not practical in any way," the council said in a statement. "It actually puts the burden of teaching at home on the parents, who also need to work from home."
The council demanded that every family be provided with extra computers so that the number of children studying equates to the number of computers in the household.
"I believe in teachers and administrators and welcome similar distance learning initiatives," Peretz said.