Piron: 20 haredi schools have signed up to teach core curriculum studies

Education minister says defunding would force 2 main haredi elementary school networks to integrate core curriculum to studies.

BOYS STUDY Talmud at their school’s synagogue in Bnei Brak 3 (photo credit: REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen)
BOYS STUDY Talmud at their school’s synagogue in Bnei Brak 3
(photo credit: REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen)
Education Minister Shai Piron said on Friday that since the government took office, at least 20 haredi schools have begun teaching the core curriculum subjects of English, Math and Hebrew, and that in addition four yeshiva high schools that have been opened this year have begun preparing students for the state high school matriculation exam.
Piron made the comments in an interview in Friday’s Israel Hayom, and said that ultimately the two main haredi elementary school networks would be forced financially to integrate core curriculum studies into their educational programs as well.
At present, the large majority of Ashkenazi haredi elementary boy schools teach very little of the state core curriculum, while almost all haredi high schools for boys teach no core curriculum studies at all.
The Shas-run Ma’ayan Hahinuch Hatorani says it teaches the core curriculum in Math, English and Hebrew, but the Education Ministry is skeptical that the full syllabus is in fact taught.
On taking office earlier this year, Piron announced he would seek to defund haredi schools that do not teach the core curriculum, although these reforms were put on hold because of a legal problem with defunding the schools without a suitable alternative.
The Education Ministry has since then created what it is calling the Tziburi Haredi state education system and called on any interested haredi schools to join it.
The new educational framework provides haredi elementary schools with 100 percent of state funding in return for the school teaching 100 percent of the state core curriculum for Math, English and Hebrew.
According to Piron and the ministry, more than 20 haredi elementary schools have decided to change from their previous status in which they received between 55-75% funding in return for teaching a similar level of the state syllabus, which in practice was not fulfilled, to the new Tziburi Haredi framework.
An official in the ministry told The Jerusalem Post the amount of hours taught and the level of the education would be exactly the same as in non-haredi schools, although some textbooks and educational materials could be adapted to ensure that they are “appropriate” for the haredi community.
He added that the ministry does not involve itself in the studies taught to the pupils outside of the core curriculum topics.
Full state inspection to confirm compliance with ministry standards is in operation for these schools.
The official also noted that the ministry had coordinated the enrollment of the new schools to the Tziburi Haredi system directly with the management of the schools in question and not in conjunction with the haredi political or rabbinic leadership.
He added that the schools themselves had approached the ministry to adopt the new system after several public announcements made by Piron declaring the new system available for haredi schools.
There are several other schools which have applied to transfer to the Tziburi Haredi system and their requests are currently being processed by the ministry.