Interministerial committee to examine failings of ulpan system
Absorption Minister Ze'ev Boim says ulpan graduates do not possess a satisfactory level of Hebrew.
By SHELLY PAZ
For the first time since the establishment of the state, an interministerial committee composed of representatives from the Education and the Immigration and Absorption ministries will examine the Hebrew language classes offered to adult immigrants.
According to Immigrant Absorption Minister Ze'ev Boim, ulpan graduates do not possess a satisfactory level of Hebrew, and their language skills are weak. Boim said Hebrew is the immigrants' entrance ticket to Israeli society, while a failure to learn the language holds them back from fitting in. "We bear responsibility to provide the new immigrants with the best tools to learn the language. If necessary, existing systems will be changed or improved," he said.
Within the next few days, the committee will begin to examine the teaching and learning systems in the ulpans, the quality of the pedagogical staff, the level of the instruction, and the process of training the Hebrew teachers.
The committee members are Dr. Meir Peretz, head of the adult education department of the Education Ministry; Dr. Michael Ydovitzki of the Immigration and Absorption Ministry; Riva Elad of the Education Ministry; Shifra Shidlovsky, head of the ulpan department of the Jewish Agency; Prof. Elazar Leshem of the sociology department of the Hebrew University; and Dr. Liora Vineich of Tel Aviv University.
The Education Ministry operates the ulpans, which it finances together with the Immigration Ministry.
Immigrants are eligible for 500 hours of Hebrew schooling over five months, free of charge. Ethiopian immigrants are entitled to 1,000 hours of Hebrew instruction.
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