The country’s public kindergartens and primary schools were closed at 1 p.m. Monday over a wage strike initiated by one of Israel’s two largest teachers’ unions.
Most primary and kindergartens finish their activities before 2pm and the young students can then participate in extracurricular programs in the afternoon. These programs end an hour earlier, depending on individual appointments.
The Israel Teachers’ Union’s 24-hour strike was planned to allow education staff to attend a late afternoon demonstration in Tel Aviv.
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The union announced the move last week and said teachers in all educational institutions would go on strike, including schools that help people with special needs.
The Association of High School Teachers and its members will not participate in the protest movement in Tel Aviv. This union is engaged in a separate dispute over the reform of the secondary education diploma.
The protest comes as the Treasury Department is pushing for changes to the annual summer vacation schedule so that it can be coordinated with the high holiday season in the fall, when many parents are on vacation.
The teachers’ union said on Monday it would not negotiate the change to the holiday schedule unless there was talk of raising teachers’ salaries first, Channel 13 said.
On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Avigdor Liberman gave a press conference along with the chairman of the National Parents’ Council and the chairman of the Israel Manufacturers’ Association, in which the three men presented their principles for streamlining the education system.
They emphasized that it is essential to match the holidays of the parents with those of the pupils.
“We all want to improve the education system and make it more efficient,” Lieberman said at that press conference. He said the lack of overlap between young people’s summer holidays and their parents’ leave was “impossible to ignore”.
An anomaly that, he said, “is not reasonable and needs to be corrected here”.
Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton replied that “the policy of the Ministry of Education is determined only by the minister in charge of this portfolio”.
“Above all, the finance department of the budget must agree to give teachers what they earn for what they do,” she added.
For its part, the teachers’ union replied to Lieberman that it is “ridiculous that industrialists and parents are responsible for determining the working conditions of teachers”.
“Liberman appears to have adopted the above-ground positioning from its office officials who are turning a blind eye to the massive departures of teaching staff, which will lead to the collapse of the entire education system from the start of the next school year,” he said. said the group.
In a letter to teachers and teachers last week, the general secretary of the union Yaffa Ben-David warned that unsatisfactory teacher salaries are “bringing the entire education system to the brink of collapse”.
“Many educators have already left the system and many more plan to do so by the end of the year,” Ben-David wrote. “Let’s all make our voices heard: stop destroying the education system! Stop hurting teachers! †
According to a recent study by Bar-Ilan University, the salary Israeli teachers receive is about a third of the salary paid to German teachers on average.
The study also claimed that the Jewish state was at the bottom of the scale compared to other OECD countries. She found that this dramatic pay gap affects not only early-career teachers, but also veterans who have been in the education system for 15 years and yet earn far less than their peers in other developed countries.
However, some argue that this data is misleading because it does not take into account several factors, including the fact that Israeli teachers work fewer hours compared to the OECD average.
Other studies have shown that if a discrepancy exists, it may not be significant. For example, a survey published in December 2020 by the Knesset Research and Information Center found that experienced teachers earned on average 31% less than their German counterparts.