Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

21 Adar I 5765 - March 2, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Education Ministry's Dovrat Report Enters Trial Stage in 12 Local Authorities

By G. Kleiman

According to the Education Ministry, 12 local authorities will begin preparations in the coming weeks to implement the Dovrat Report with the start of the 5766 school year. On the list of local authorities chosen are Ofakim, Ariel, Dimona, Herzliya, Holon, Haifa, Natzrat Illit, Ramat Gan, Ramle, Shfaram, the Gilboa Regional Council and the Shlomi Regional Council.

The Education Ministry's Dovrat Implementation Administration, headed by Shmuel Harnoy, will dispatch teams to each location. In cooperation with local authority representatives these teams will decide in which towns to implement the Dovrat Report next year, notably where the extended school day and the five-day school week will go into effect.

Teachers' associations announced that they would take harsh steps, including a stoppage of the entire school system, if the Education Ministry begins implementing the Dovrat Report recommendations in a number of towns without reaching an overall agreement with teachers' organizations. The teachers claim that the Education Ministry is trying to create established facts without exhausting channels of dialogue. Last week, heads of the teachers' organizations sent a letter to the respective heads of the local authorities threatening to shut down schools if plans were begun to implement the Dovrat Report.

At some of these local authorities, such as Ramle, Dimona, Ofakim, Ariel, Shlomi and some schools in Haifa and Natzrat Illit, the extended-day program is already in operation based on an older Extended-Day Study Law in effect in development towns and areas of national priority. There a portion of the cost of the extended day is funded by parents and local authorities. The transition to a full-fledged extended day, as proposed by the Dovrat Committee, would end parents' and local authorities' participation in funding the program, but would also put an end to studies on Fridays.

The Education Ministry budgeted NIS 200 million for five years toward the funding of Friday activities for the underprivileged, but the criteria for receiving this funding have not been set. As part of preparations, each local authority will be asked to assess various possibilities to arrange educational activities on Fridays in collaboration with community centers, youth movements and foundations.

The primary reason for the limited number of participating towns, in contradiction to the initial pledge by Education Minister L. Livnat, is the deadlock in negotiations with teachers' organizations. During the course of eight meetings held between teachers and the Finance and Education Ministries, no progress was made toward the implementation of the report. From the Education Ministry's standpoint every day that passes without progress in negotiations diminishes the chances of implementing the report in the coming school year, since principals and educators must take training courses and teachers must be dismissed within just a few months' time. Meanwhile heads of teachers' organizations would like to draw out the time frame and even proposed extending negotiations until November.

"We notified all of the local authority heads that implementation of the report, and not merely a portion of them, would take place only upon completion of negotiations with the Finance and Education [Ministries]," said a spokesman for the teachers' organizations, "and we will respond accordingly to any move in which a mayor tries to carry out the recommendations against the stance taken by the teachers' organizations. The publication of the list of towns is another step in the unconstructive management of affairs the Education Minister is leading."


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