The Free Nursery School Law for ages three and four will be implemented throughout Israel within three years, Education Minister Gidon Saar announced at a Knesset Education Ministry meeting this week.
Due to the shortage of nursery schools and in order to handle the implementation of the law within three years, a short-term licensing track will be available for private nursery schools currently in operation, he said.
At the committee meeting Education Ministry Director-General Dalit Stauber presented highlights of the multi-year plan. The 5773 (2012-13) school year will open with 500 new nursery school classrooms, Stauber reported. During the course of the year an additional 250 classrooms will be opened and during the coming four years a total of 2,500 new nursery school classrooms will be built, until the implementation is complete.
Stauber also told the committee meeting that 144 local authorities will benefit from free education thanks to the government decision. One hundred and thirty-six have filed building requests. The Education Ministry has recognized a need for 1,171 classes for the 3- and 4-year-olds, and a total of 2,900 nursery school teachers will have to be recruited.
In the government and government-religious sectors, a shortage of 557 nursery school teachers is anticipated in the 5773 school year, compared to a shortage of 65 teachers in the Arab sector, said Stauber.
In the chareidi sector no lack of nursery school teachers is expected because of the large extent of teacher training, Stauber explained. She said the Education Ministry is planning to deal with the shortage by recruiting certified nursery school teachers that are not currently employed in teaching, by introducing accelerated training programs and by bringing in third-year students as stand-in nursery school teachers.