Source: Times of Israel
The Israel Education Ministry announced a new plan to provide an extra three weeks of optional school in order to shorten the summer vacation and keep children in the lower grades busy while their parents are at work. Under the plan, from July 1 to July 21, young people studying to become teachers and teachers who choose to, will take over the schools and conduct activities designed to awaken pupils’ creativity such as workshops for reading and writing, sessions on community involvement, environmental education, interactive learning as well as sports, among others. Activities will also revolve around acquiring social values.
The new program is to begin next summer. Vacation for some 200,000 first- and second-graders will begin on July 21 instead of at the beginning of the month. In addition, 30,000 third- to fifth-graders in outlying communities will also take part in the scheme. In summer 2015, the plan will be expanded to include all children from first to fifth grades. The extra days of voluntary school time will feature lessons and educational activities from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Parents who take advantage of the new program will be expected to help cover the cost of the extra days, with the amount of their contribution depending on their means. Fees are to run from full subsidization in the lowest socioeconomic areas to up to NIS 400 ($113) per child in wealthier areas.
The project is expected to cost some NIS 215 million ($61 million), of which NIS 160 million ($45 million) is to come from the state, NIS 10-15 million ($2.8 million-$4.2 million) from the national lottery, and NIS 40 million ($11.3 million) from the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.