The Education System – 2005
Author: Yaakov Kop Policy Research

The main indicators for the education system were marked by stability in the past year: enrollment, class size, and the number and profiles of teachers did not change significantly.

On the other hand, the system underwent two important developments with unclear implications for the future: the continued implementation of the Shoshani Committee Report on changes in the budgeting method of primary schools; and the publication of the Dovrat Committee Report, which conducted a comprehensive examination of the education system and presented proposals for change and improvement.

It is absolutely clear by now that the implementation of the Shoshani Committee Report has led to the redistribution of budget resources among schools and segments of the primary education system. In the main, the Arab sector received extra resources and sectors that had previously enjoyed preferential treatment suffered substantial cutbacks. (The issue is discussed at greater length below.) It is still premature, however, to point to the full effect of the reform. Firstly, the report is being phased in, over five years. Secondly, additional budget cutting continued last year, too. Thirdly, some school principals and directors of education departments in the local authorities are not yet fully aware of the significance of the changes in the budgeting method. Thus, some of the changes, such as the closure of small schools and the reorganization of school-level resources, have not become fully evident for the time being. Just the same, the report has had the demonstrable result of enhancing equality in resource allocation at the primary school level.

he discussion that follows is dedicated to the two main actors in the education system: pupils and teachers. Regarding pupils, the focus is on the phenomenon of “horizontal” movement between segments of the education system, i.e., transfers between the State and the State-Religious systems, between the official systems and the non-official recognized system, and between public and private schools (Part 2). As for teachers, the main issue is whether Israel is facing a shortage of teachers in the near future and, if so, what is to be done (Part 3).

The budget discussion focuses on the initial results of the change in the budgeting method of primary schools and examines in detail the need to expand the method to preschools and the education system that serves special-needs youngsters (Part 4).

Part 5 tackles education policy by probing the origins of the current feeling of crisis in the education system and proposing ways to cope with the relevant issues. The analysis focuses on the polarization that typifies Israel’s education system and on population groups that are unable to realize their potential. Lastly, there are proposals in three main fields: quality of personnel, curricula and core curriculum, and changes in school budgeting.

This paper appears as a chapter in the Center’s annual publication, Israel’s Social Services 2005, Yaakov Kop (editor).

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