One good thing has come out of the Dovrat Commission for reform in Israel's educational system - people start talking about education!
For many years, Israelis have discussed politics, security, the economy and social justice, while their schools kept going downhill. The current interest in our children's education may signal the end of our apathy.
The budget of Israel's Ministry of Education is one of the largest, but the way it is managed is more than a political or economic issue. Careful allocation of resources and planning of activities are only instruments that should serve educational goals.
Many agree that our schools should offer better opportunities to all children and improve the students' achievements, mainly in science and technology. However, education means more than formal studies and academic results. The new era may call for more than just technical skills. Our society will be stronger if more of us learn to fulfil our personal potential, while fostering a strong commitment to shared values.
We must encourage our children to develop their creativity and innovative thinking, and at the same time, better their self-discipline and diligence. They have to learn to work in teams and shape new solutions for the future. But they also have to acquire the social skills and moral values that will help in forming a better society. Indeed, some of these goals are relevant to our own education, as we all have to keep growing and improving ourselves.
Reforming our schools may be an opportunity for a profound change in our society, if the new schools involve parents and pupils in joint programmes.
Ehud Tokatly, 24/February/2005