Education in Israel
Israel has a comprehensive public education system from early childhood through adulthood.
In recent years, with the growing concern of parents over the orientation of their children's education, some new schools have been founded, which reflect the philosophies and beliefs of specific groups of parents and educators.
Most hours of the school day are devoted to compulsory academic studies. While the subject matter to be covered is uniform throughout the system, each school may choose from a wide range of study units and teaching materials, provided by the Ministry of Education, which best suit the needs of its faculty and pupil population. With the aim of enhancing pupils' understanding of their society, each year a special topic of national importance is studied in depth. Themes have included democratic values, the Hebrew language, immigration, Jerusalem, peace and industry.
Education for Exceptional Children
Gifted children, who rank in the top three percent of their class and have passed qualifying tests, participate in enrichment programs, ranging from full-time special schools to extracurricular courses. A classroom for the gifted is characterized by the level of its students and its studies, with emphasis not only on imparting knowledge and understanding, but also on applying the concepts mastered to other disciplines. Children in these programs learn to research and handle new material independently.
Children with physical, mental, and learning disabilities are placed in appropriate frameworks according to the nature of their handicap, to help them eventually achieve maximum integration into the social and vocational life of their community. Thus some are taken care of in special settings, while others attend regular schools where they may be assigned to self-contained groups or to mainstream classes with supplementary tutoring. Responsibility for their well-being is shared by health care personnel, psychologists, social workers and special education professionals, as well as by the family and various community support groups. A committee constituted by law and appointed by the Minister of Education determines the eligibility of handicapped children for special education programs and facilities, which are free from age 3 to 21.
The majority of secondary schools offer academic curricula in science and in the humanities leading to a matriculation certificate and higher education.
Certain secondary schools offer specialized curricula which lead to a matriculation certificate and/or vocational diploma. Technological schools train technicians and practical engineers on three levels, with some preparing for higher education, some studying towards a vocational diploma and others acquiring practical skills. Agricultural schools, usually in a residential setting, supplement basic studies with subjects relating to agronomy. Military preparatory schools, in two different settings, train future career personnel and technicians in specific fields required by the Israel Defense Forces; both programs are residential, one open to boys only, the other is coeducational. Yeshiva high schools, mainly boarding schools, with separate frameworks for boys and girls, complement their secular curricula with intensive religious studies and promote observance of tradition and a Jewish way of life. Comprehensive schools offer studies in a variety of vocations, ranging from bookkeeping to mechanics, electronics, hotel trades, graphic design and more.
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