Netanyahu pledges free toddler education in fall

PM reiterated promise that pre-school education will become free for children ages three and four by start of new school year.

Netanyahu 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Netanyahu 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday reiterated his promise that pre-school education will become free for children ages three and four already for the start of the school year in the fall.
Speaking in Jerusalem at an official ceremony inaugurating centers for excellence in education across the country, the prime minister said the government will “not open the budget” and that funding for the initiative – which follows the recommendations of the Trajtenberg Committee – will be produced by across-the-board cuts to the budgets of government ministries.
“This is a mission of national importance, at the top of our priorities. We will find the sources [to fund this] and all government ministries will pitch in,” Netanyahu said.
“This is a law that has been legislated in the past but was never implemented,” the prime minister added.
Currently, only children 5-years-old and above receive free education, and families struggle to pay for daycare and kindergarten for children under that age.
“Families spend thousands of shekels on private kindergartens and we will act to correct this situation,” Netanyahu said.
The state “will subsidize every child over 3-years-old by 800 shekels. I know this will make education free,” the prime minister said. “Additionally, we will build more than 2,000 kindergartens and daycare facilities which will answer the needs of an additional 30,000 children.”
Professor Manuel Trajtenberg, who heads the committee that was established by the government following summer protests over the high cost of living, was present at the ceremony, and said following the prime minister’s speech: “I thank the prime minister for his commitment to the education of the children of Israel and for creating an educational continuum from the younger ages to higher education. This move will contribute enormously.”