One thousand first- and second-graders in Netanya have begun receiving extra help in reading and mathematics in a special NIS 2 million program launched by the city last week, reports www.local.co.il. In the program, 55 specially trained teachers' assistants have begun working at 28 schools to help teachers and to ensure that every child masters arithmetic and language skills. According to the report, the city's education department launched the program with the "clear target" of ensuring that every first-grader becomes able to read and do mathematics. The teachers' assistants underwent special training at the Pisga teachers' training center in Netanya, and last week began work at the 28 schools. There they have been placed mostly in first-grade classes that contain more than 25 pupils, as well as in a number of second-grade classes. A municipal spokesman said the assistants would increase the personal connection between teachers and students and would contribute to learning, ensuring that the children mastered the required skills for their age group. Mayor Miriam Fierberg-Ikar said the program was part of the city's policy of investing in education.