The plan to curtail the Israeli summer vacation by four weeks has not succeeded to date. This year, schools opened on August 27th instead of September 1st, only a few days earlier but nevertheless, a significant change according to Ministry of Education officials.
Minister of Education Gideon Saar has called upon Shmuel Silvin to head a committee which he hopes will actualize the planned change, to cut four weeks from the summer vacation. That would cut summer vacation from ten to six weeks for most students.
Efforts to implement this radical change have failed to date. Clearly, the long summer vacation is trying for most families since children by and large are not in summer camps, which in Israel are too costly for many. For those attending camps, programs are frequently 2-3 weeks at most, leaving children with weeks of boredom.
The extra days of school this year will be made up by adding vacation days for the yomim tovim. However, Saar hopes that in the coming years, as soon as two years, the public schools will say goodbye forever to the 10-week summer vacation. Needless to say teachers’ unions are opposed to such a plan.
If Silvan is successful, elementary school students will have 16 additional days of school a year and junior high and high schools an additional 26 days. Silvin explains the plan will have a price tag since no teacher will volunteer to curtail vacation and to add weeks of work without being compensated for such a move. Silvin explains he has already entered into negotiations with treasury officials, who support the move, so the next hurdle will be the teachers.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)