Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

12 Iyar 5766 - May 10, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Labor Court Forces Teachers to Administer PISA Exams

By G. Lazer

The National Labor Court in Jerusalem upheld a request by the Education Ministry by issuing an injunction requiring the Association of Secondary School Teachers to cooperate in administering the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) exams, which began on Sunday.

Concerned that they will be blamed for poor results on the exams, teachers are demanding special compensation for preparing the students for the tests. Several months ago the Association of Secondary School Teachers announced it objected to the exams and threatened to halt studies at schools while the test is being administered. When negotiations stalled, last week the Education Ministry sought an injunction to prevent the teachers from striking. The legal counsel for the Teachers Association, Attorney Dror Gal, said, "This is an erroneous ruling that undermines the use of the strike as a tool."

A school strike is expected due to cutbacks in teaching hours for 12th-grade students.

The National Council of Students is also threatened to hold a one-day strike to protest the Finance and Education Ministries' plans to cut three weekly teaching hours at secondary schools.

The PISA exams are administered by the OECD (the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) once every three years among 15-year-olds in dozens of countries around the world. They are designed to assess the students' knowledge in various fields and their ability to apply the knowledge they have learned.

The last time Israel participated in the international tests in 2003 it scored 31st among 41 participating nations, stirring a harsh public reaction against the school system that served as a catalyst for the formation of the Dovrat Committee. This year a sample of 4,500 Israeli students taken from all sectors are slated to take the exams.

The Teachers Association is also embroiled in a labor dispute that could result in a school strike over the decision to cut 12,000 teaching hours next year, which would mean the dismissal of 600 teachers. Announced three years ago the move is scheduled to be carried out in three stages. The first stage calls for the reduction of two weekly teaching hours for every 12th-grader. Association Chairman Ran Erez recently declared if the cut takes effect teachers will go on strike and the school year will not begin until the decision is reversed. Before Pesach several school principals received notices from local education department heads to prepare for teacher dismissals at their respective schools.


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