What the education system needs is more efficiency, not budgets

Ma’ariv, Israel, December 23

The Israeli education system is going through one of the most difficult times in its history: senior staff turnover, violence in schools and massive resignation of teachers. During the coronavirus period, an important change occurred: not only did we learn how to provide distance education solutions, but we also had the opportunity, for the first time, to re-evaluate how our system works. educational and, therefore, where it fails. There is no doubt that we are entering an alarming crisis. Data shows a growing shortage of teachers across the country, especially in teaching English. Teachers are quitting en masse in search of other jobs, and even no pay rise will keep them. Normally, that’s when the alarm bells go off and serious people with brains in their heads call meetings, assess the situation, and come up with a plan. But not in our country. A director general of the Ministry of Education goes and another leaves. There is no sense of belonging or seriousness. Political appointments take precedence over technical appointments. Before everything collapses and serious anarchy takes hold in our schools, the first thing we need to do is downsize our classrooms. COVID-19 has forced us to organize classes in groups of 12 to 18 students maximum. This should be continued even if the virus goes away. There is much more potential for success – academically, socially and interpersonal – in a small classroom. Intimate learning environments, collaboration, appropriate attention to student needs, and group activities all enhance the learning experience and help improve academic outcomes. The rapid transition to the small classes depends on several public factors. The main public factor is local government. The Ministry of Education cannot solve local problems from its ivory tower. Communities will need to find more classroom space in public buildings, in addition to what is available in school complexes, or move to team learning. In addition, the number of teaching hours should be drastically reduced to four 55-minute lessons per day, five days per week. The sixth day will be devoted to personal learning at home, via Zoom courses. This will help offset the growing shortage of teachers while ensuring that students receive the proper attention they need. We can also recruit help from retirees of the Ministry of Education, instructors of youth movements and national service volunteers. It may come as a shock to many, but what our education system needs is not an increase in the budget, but more efficiency and productivity. Avraham fink (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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