Thousands of students and their parents in Haifa are unaware that the Education Ministry operates an open telephone line for complaints and queries, reports the Hebrew weekly Yediot Haifa. Student representatives are complaining that neither the ministry nor schools are fulfilling their obligations to notify the public of the hotline, which has already operated for eight years, and that the ministry acts as if calls from the public are an unwanted bother while school principals "don't want anybody asking questions." According to the report, schools are supposed to notify students, parents and teachers about the hotline, whose number is 1-800-222003. The line was established in 1999 to provide prompt and professional assistance with queries and complaints on educational matters. But the newspaper found that very few people actually know the service exists, and even many student councils were surprised to learn about it. Of more than 36,000 calls taken by the line in 2006, only about 4,500 came from the Haifa district. A ministry spokesman said the ministry advertises the number of the line every year and it appears on the ministry's website. He said no attempt was being made to hide the existence of the hotline, and schools were supposed to let parents and students know about it, but if schools were failing to do so, the ministry would "refresh the instructions" for principals.