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NIS 2.4 billion for periphery schools

The Education Minister will allocate NIS 2.4 billion to be distributed between every school in Israel and used as management sees fit, Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton announced on Monday as part of her "Administrative Flexibility Program."

The program, which will be piloted in select schools from January 2023, will see principals be given a credit card to make purchases specific to the needs of their school. The aim, according to the ministry, is to prioritize students of lower socio-economic status in the periphery in order to bridge the gap of opportunities given to succeed.

Every Israeli elementary and middle school will be handed a sum of between NIS 300,000 to one million, subject to the school's size and socio-economic status. Funding will surpass one million NIS for some 500 schools across Israel, the Education Ministry estimates.

School administrators will be given the annual budget and will be able to use the money in six different academic disciplines without governmental interference. The fields seen as a priority for investments by the ministry are mental health in education, social education, academic leadership, weakened populations, students' welfare and school infrastructure.

Within those targeted fields, administrators will be able to purchase technological equipment such as tablets, computers and assistive technological tools for students with disabilities. In addition, schools will be able to independently choose extracurricular activities such as swimming lessons, expanding the current school trip schedule and a variety of external courses in the fields of entrepreneurship, cyber and programming.

The "Administrative Flexibility Program" is part of the Education Ministry's plan to give schools and local authorities more autonomy over their curriculums, Shasha-Biton said. "Providing managerial and pedagogical flexibility is nothing less than a revolution in the education system," the education minister said. "The COVID-19 pandemic showed us granting autonomy to local authorities allows for more accurate management in accordance with the needs and the unique characteristics of the population."