2.5 million children will return to school on Thursday after an agreement reached with high schools

Israel’s 2.5 million schoolchildren are set to start the school year Thursday morning, after a last-minute deal was struck Wednesday night for high schools to avoid a strike, following a similar deal earlier in the year. the day concerning the young pupils.

The 2,496,000 students and 218,000 education workers will start the year in 5,440 schools and 22,050 kindergartens across the country. Some 177,000 students enter first grade and 136,000 enter their final year of high school.

The agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Association of Secondary Teachers was announced around 10 p.m., leaving parents and pupils to wait until several hours before the start of the school year before knowing whether studies would indeed begin.

Ran Erez, head of the Secondary School Teachers’ Association, said the finance ministry had heeded their demands to shorten the school week to five days and implement school-leaving exam reforms. high school in the humanities.

While saying that all his demands have been met, Erez added, “I have once again come to the conclusion that the Ministry of Finance is a champion in making things difficult.”

“All students in the State of Israel return to school tomorrow and open the school year with joy and celebration, including high school students,” Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton said.

Secondary School Teachers’ Association head Ran Erez speaks during an education conference hosted by The Marker business newspaper in Kiryat Ono, August 24, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The announcement came hours after the Israel Teachers Union, which represents preschool, preschool and elementary school teachers, announced it had reached a last-minute deal with the Treasury after months of talks.

The agreement, which has not yet been signed, will last until 2026. It includes higher salaries for teachers and principals as well as performance bonuses. It also changes school holiday days to better align school hours with those of working parents.

Left to right: Teachers’ Union General Secretary Yaffa Ben David, Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Bitton and Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman hold a press conference following the new pay deal with teachers, August 31, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

The parties also agreed to a more streamlined process for firing teachers and a three-year wait before qualifying for tenure.

The last weeks of the previous school year were marked by strikes by the Israel Teachers’ Union in its fight for better pay.

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