Piron promises to tackle school vacation issue

Education minister vows not to fire teachers, cut their pay; says he will fix holiday issue to match parents' days off.

Shai Piron at Kibbutzim College of Education 370 (photo credit: Amir Reiner)
Shai Piron at Kibbutzim College of Education 370
(photo credit: Amir Reiner)
There will be no cuts made to the education budget, Education Minister Shai Piron said on Sunday at the Kibbutzim College of Education annual conference in Tel Aviv.
“There will be no cuts in teachers’ salaries,” he said. “No teachers will be laid off and there will be no cuts in hours of instruction in the education system.”
Piron also talked about the need to reintroduce the dream factor to schools and “separate education from politics.”
“We must start talking about long-term plans which never take into consideration the length of a political term or the composition of a government, even if it means that education ministers will be compelled not to see the fruits of their work,” he said.
The minister added that, when the time came, he would work to establish a national council for education which would build long-term education strategies in Israel. Strategies would be detached from political discourse and be developed by intellectuals, administrators, parents, teachers and mayors, as well as by representatives of teachers’ organizations.
Piron also addressed last week’s request by Jerusalem parents to shorten school vacations, which put a strain on working parents who have to make arrangements and improvise activities for their children during those days.
The minister said he would review the education system’s holiday schedule and adapt it to better match parents’ days off. The director-general of the ministry, Dalit Stauber, is expected to meet with parents’ and teachers’ representatives as well as with local authorities to coordinate holidays for the next school year.
Jerusalem Council member Rachel Azaria, who leads the parents’ movement, welcomed the decision on Sunday, but pointed out that the school holiday schedule should also be developed in collaboration with the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, as well as with employers across the country, who “should help fix this distortion with the ministries.”
Last week, Piron, at the third annual Akim conference on the inclusion of people with disabilities into society, said that in future schools there would be no longer be a separation between special education schools and regular schools.
The minister added that he would work to increase the number of teachers with disabilities teaching in regular schools.