December 3, 2022

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Teachers Union Threatens Strike over Matriculation Reforms

3 min read

YifatShasha-Biton, the Education Minister in Israel, is planning on reforming high school matriculation, which prompted high school teachers to threaten to go on strike on Monday. Ran Erez, the chairman of the High School Teachers Union said that there had not been a minister who had inflicted so much damage on the education system as Shasha-Biton was doing. He spoke at a press conference where a work dispute was announced with the Education Ministry and warned that teachers could force schools to shut down, even before the end of the current school year. He stated that they would begin to disrupt school operations soon.

Eraz said that they could choose not to give grades to students at the end of the year. He also added that there could be disruptions at trips, graduation parties and more. He asserted that they would continue doing so for two months, if necessary. The planned reform by Shasha-Biton had been revealed back in February and it was presented in the previous month. According to the reform, they will incorporate new methods of studying and working rather than testing and an evaluation will also be conducted. The changes dictate that subjects like civics, history, biblical studies and literature would no longer have any written exams.

Instead, multidisciplinary work would be used and projects would be done in class that every school will do an internal assessment for grades and they would be assessed externally as well. Teachers would have the responsibility of selecting projects for each of the subjects that will be chosen by students of the tenth and eleventh grade. Bagrut, which refers to matriculation work, would comprise of different formats and materials and students would have to prepare projects individually and give presentations orally. Matriculation projects submitted by twelfth graders would be assessed externally. The final mark would be comprised of an external assessment and grading from the school in equal parts.

The frontal presentation as well as written work would be used for grading the external evaluation. When it comes to subjects like science, mathematics, language and English, testing would continue the same way as done previously, with written tests set externally. On Monday, Erez stated that this reform would only harm the students. He added that they were not fighting this reform for money, but because it would harm the students and reduce the importance of certain subjects. A student’s future greatly depends on the matriculation exams, as the scores are an important part of applications sent to academic institutions and military units.

Students who are able to clear the exams with at least 56% or more are granted the bagrut certificate. Shasha-Biton was appointed as the Education Minister back in June 2021 and the bagruyotreform is one of the latest she has made in a series of systemic changes. The announcement of the union was slammed by the National Student and Youth Council. Omer Shahar, the head of the council said that Eraz believes that the Education Ministry and its reforms would suffer because of their threats of shutting down the education system, but the truth was that it was only going to harm the students.

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