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Israel approves education plan ‘Learning in Safety’

The Israeli government cabinet on Sunday approved a NIS 4.2 billion ($1.2 billion) education plan – “Learning in Safety” — for the coming school year (set to begin on September 1) that calls for a blended approach combining classroom learning for the younger grades and distance learning for those in the older grades.

A product of the education, finance and health ministries, the plan calls for full regular programming for young children attending daycare centers, kindergartens and grades 1-2, which will operate with normal group sizes.

Students in grades 3-4 will be learning in “capsule” groups of up to 18 children in a group under the plan. Grades 5-12 will spend most of the week studying via distance learning; twice a week they will learn in “capsule” size groups in classes of up to 18 students each.

Education Minister Yoav Gallant said in a tweet that the plan will “enable a stable school year, even in the shadow of the coronavirus.”

Approximately NIS 2.6 billion ($762 million) is to be allocated for hiring additional educators and staff in order to enable the reduction of class sizes.

Another NIS 1.2 billion ($351 million) is to be used to improve the technical infrastructure to be used for the distance learning program.

Some of the issues that some of the schools and teachers wrestle with include dealing with students who have no way to access the distance learning program, whether due to issues with the network, the internet or a lack of equipment in the home.

Hana Levi Julian