Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

11 Elul 5765 - September 15, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











1,757,967 Students Start School in Israel

by Betzalel Kahn and A. Cohen

According to Education Ministry figures, the total nationwide enrollment for the 5766 school year increased by 36,079, to 1,757,967 students in 4,413 schools and some 13,000 kindergarten classes. Of these 1,312,536 attend Jewish schools, 318,862 attend Arab schools and 126,560 attend Bedouin and Druse schools.

At a press conference, the Education Ministry stated three primary goals for this year: meeting the needs of students evacuated from Gush Katif, stemming violence and implementing the reforms contained in the Dovrat Report.

So far at least 913 of the 3,437 students from Gush Katif and Northern Samaria have been placed in schools.

To combat violence, the Education Ministry has decided to adopt a uniform dress code, introduce a courteous way for students to address teachers and institute codes of conduct and proper speech. At the press conference, Education Ministry Director General R. Tirosh presented a set of regulations from 1914 designed to improve student behavior and manners. "The regulations were issued following a laxity in etiquette and behavior among students. Unfortunately the excess liberalism in today's education led to laxity not just in schools but in parental authority as well," she said.

The Education Ministry also plans to raise the acceptance criteria for teacher-training programs at colleges and seminaries in order to elevate teaching standards at schools.

102,927 Students Enrolled in Jerusalem's Chareidi Education System

The chareidi education system now accounts for 48.5 percent of Jerusalem's children with 102,927 students enrolled. At a press conference held by Mayor Rabbi Uri Lupoliansky and top officials from the Department for Chareidi Education, the mayor praised city officials for making the necessary arrangements for the opening of the school year, with a minimum of glitches.

For years, the city has divided education in Jerusalem into three sectors—general education, chareidi education and Arab education—whereas at this week's press conference the municipality's deputy director general described the city's education system in terms of four categories: general, government-religious, chareidi and Arab. Previously, government-religious was included under "general" in an effort to make the city seem more secular. The city's enrollment figures for the 5766 school year show 85,427 students at official chareidi schools in addition to 17,500 at private chareidi schools.

Government schools account for 17 percent of Jerusalem students (36,000), government-religious schools account for 12.3 percent (26,000) and Arab schools account for 22.2 percent (47,071).

Chareidi institutions took in 2,095 new students in the 5766 school year, an increase of 2.5 percent compared to last year. These figures are in addition to the impressive 18 percent growth in chareidi enrollment between 5760 and 5765. In government and government-religious schools, enrollment dropped slightly this year.

Jerusalem's Department for Chareidi Education is operating 19 new kindergartens in addition to the 264 existing kindergartens, and five new first-grade classes in addition to the 69 existing classes. Kindergarten classes have an average of 25 students and the overall average class size is 28 students.

Funding has been allocated for the construction of 20 prefab classrooms (caravans) in addition to the construction of 12 new classrooms at the Ohel Rachel School. The renovation costs at municipal schools and kindergartens totaled NIS 15 million. Criteria are also being prepared for funding allocations for non-municipal schools during the year 2006.

"The results in the field speak for themselves," said the mayor following a tour of the city's educational institutions with the heads of the Department for Chareidi Education. "Be'ezras Hashem, it is apparent to what an extent the principals—and to a no lesser degree the municipality staff headed by Deputy Mayor of Education Rabbi Uri Maklev, together with the director general of the municipality, Eitan Meir, the deputy director general Y. Shalvi, the director of the Department for Chareidi Education, Rabbi Binyomin Cohen, and the entire department staff, including Rabbi Dov Fuchs, Rabbi Gershon Binet and others—did outstanding work day and night to allow the school year to open without glitches, despite the shameful lack of classrooms. The Education Ministry cannot seem to grasp the rate of growth and development of the city's chareidi education system."

Despite a number of small problems that will soon be solved, all was in place for the opening of the school year at kindergartens, daycare centers, talmudei Torah, schools and seminaries, the mayor noted.

Rabbi Lupoliansky said he has issued instructions to launch a series of new projects this year in order to minimize the number of dropouts at the city's chareidi institutions. For instance, the Department for Chareidi Education is operating a study program for educators and instructors, consisting of advanced coursework and workshops to teach veteran staff members how to identify and cope with learning impairments. The training program will end with assessment tests of the participants' ability to provide individual assistance to students suffering from learning disabilities or behavioral disorders.

Numerous programs for the prevention of and coping with dropouts will be held among the students themselves this year. The Department will provide support to help students suffering from learning impairments as well as emotional and personal problems. Three hundred counselors will work with hundreds of students, age 6 to 16, with the goal of keeping 98 percent of students in their current place of study and having 95 percent of graduating 8th graders enroll at yeshivas.

The City is also operating a program called Tigbur aimed at helping girls enrolled in regular primary schools. Struggling students will receive individual tutoring with experienced teachers, toward the goal of ensuring that 80 percent of girls in the chareidi education system meet minimum achievement standards (grades of at least 70 percent in math, Hebrew and English).

A similar program for boys, called Yehoyada, will provide therapeutic enrichment for boys in first through fifth grade suffering from learning impairments, emotional difficulties and learning disabilities. Older students suffering from similar problems will be prepared for yeshiva life through a project called Merkaz Lemida-Hachana Leyeshiva.

In addition to these projects, the Department for Chareidi Education, in cooperation with Lev L'Achim, will open a telephone hotline for students who have dropped out of chareidi educational institutions. The hotline will direct and guide them back to the learning bench and will track their absorption at various institutions. The project is designed to help handle 3,500 cases per year and to place 70 percent of callers in integrative educational institutions.

Deputy Mayor of Education Rabbi Uri Maklev noted the extensive renovations of educational facilities, projects to prevent dropouts, and special eyesight, dental and other health improvement projects.

He said that in the past outside figures did not try to interfere with the chareidi education system, but today the city must fight legal battles against opponents trying to prevent the city from providing social benefits to the chareidi public and students at chareidi institutions. "People think that when there's a chareidi mayor everything works out by itself," said Rabbi Maklev. "But opposition figures wage battles and prevent the implementation of educational and municipal activities. The municipality, headed by Rabbi Uri Lupoliansky, is battling to defend against these schemes. But be'ezras Hashem we will succeed in overcoming them.

"The fact is that the chareidi educational system grew 2.5 percent this year, be'ezras Hashem, an increase of more than two thousand children. Special education also increased and structures are being converted into educational facilities, such as industrial buildings that have been transformed into schools. All of these things were the result of teamwork in the Department for Chareidi Education together with personnel from various municipal departments in cooperation with all of the municipal officials and the chareidi representatives on the city council."

Deputy Mayor of Finance Rabbi Eli Simchayof also spoke of the scheming against programs sponsored by chareidi city councilmen. "Over the years we managed to increase the education budgets to substantial amounts," he said. "Although they are insufficient, we entered a recovery program. This year, the mayor gave orders not to touch the education budget and I hope in the coming weeks there will be another increase to close the gaps. I want to stress that we are constantly embroiled in difficult battles against the city legal advisor, who prevents us from transferring funds or executing renovation work at non-municipal institutions. I hope we arrive at a reasonable solution in order to renovate and fund non-municipal institutions (private chadorim) as well."

Y. Shalvi, the deputy director of the municipality, said that because of the demographic changes in the city and the rapid growth in chareidi education, the City of Jerusalem has begun to prepare a long-term plan to solve future problems in chareidi education.

54,600 Students in Bnei Brak Schools

Bnei Brak also posted an increase in enrollment, which rose from 53,800 students last year to 54,600 students beginning the 5766 school year.

Twenty-six thousand students are enrolled in the city's 86 primary schools—14,000 in 27 Chinuch Atzmai and Maayan Hachinuch schools, 11,000 in 46 public and private talmudei Torah, 900 in four government-religious schools and 360 in the city's one government primary school.

At the upper level, the student population numbers 8,000 students in yeshivos ketanos, 6,000 students in chareidi high schools and seminaries, 1,500 students in four government-religious schools and 500 students in the city's one general government high school.

Of the city's 4,814 kindergarteners, 4,332 are enrolled in chareidi kindergartens (up by 250), 402 in government- religious kindergartens and 80 in government kindergartens.

75 New Classes Opened in Elad

Elad opened 75 new classes, bringing this year's total enrollment up to 8,800 students in 314 classes at all levels. Hundreds of additional students are enrolled in educational institutions outside the city. Mayor Rabbi Tzvi Herbst and his staff and the City Council's Education Department spent months preparing the infrastructure to meet the needs of the burgeoning population.

Enrollment Up 15 Percent in Modi'in Illit

"Each of the 13,200 students has a decent roof overhead, suitable for study purposes," said Modi'in Illit Council Head Rabbi Yaakov Guterman following a tour of the city on the opening day of school year. Official figures show enrollment increased by 1,700 students this year.

Forty-two of the city's 90 new classrooms are located in permanent buildings at two new schools, including the fabulous Avi Ezri-Beis Yaakov School in the southern section of the city.

Modi'in Illit's children study in a total of over 500 classes in 38 schools.


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