Minister of Education Naftali Bennett. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Minister of Education Naftali Bennett.

An empty classroom awaits the new school year. (Mendy Hechtman/Flash90)

Israel will invest in a variety of innovative educational programs, including increased opportunities for special needs students and a greater focus on mathematics in high school.

The Ministry of Education has enlarged its budget to NIS 50 billion and intends to invest in several initiatives that Minister of Education Naftali Bennett deems imperative for Israel’s future, including an improved learning environment for students with special needs.

Speaking on Monday at a session of the Knesset Education, Culture, and Sports Committee ahead of the beginning of the school year next Tuesday, Bennett outlined his ministry’s objectives for the coming year.

The new Equal Opportunity program for special needs children will see NIS 945 million invested in providing greater accessibility to schools and classrooms and ensuring they accommodate diverse special needs, such as cognitive disabilities, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Bennett said he will put an emphasis on math and science, thus ensuring that Israel remains the start-up nation and a leading force in the world of hi-tech.

Void in Education Poses ‘National Threat’

He noted a decrease in the number of pupils taking advanced mathematics for their high-school diploma as “a national threat to the startup nation,” noting that between 2006 and 2014 the number of pupils taking such a course load had decreased by 30 percent.

“Who will found the next Waze? How will we have Nobel Prize winners in 20 years time?” the minister asked, according to the Post.

“The damage done in the field of mathematics is a threat to the creation of knowledge that Israel exports,” Bennett said. “The future of the State of Israel depends on the development of quality human capital,” the Post quotes him as saying.

The ministry’s new initiative also includes the boosting of written Hebrew skills and the introduction of Arabic as a required subject from preschool through Grade 12.

The first week of the new school year will include a special program for the prevention of racism and violence, Bennett said.

By: United with Israel Staff
With files from The Jerusalem Post