Education Minister Naftali Bennett is planning a “crash recruitment” of English-speaking volunteers to help teach the language in Israeli schools.
The program is looking for native English speakers to volunteer one or two hours each week to speak and work with children from kindergarten through high school.
“The biggest problem we have is that we have is a huge deficit of English teachers, good English teachers,” Bennett told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. “In fact, half of the English teachers who are teaching English now only completed four matriculation units. That’s unbelievable.”
Touting the success of the “Give Me Five” initiative that is currently in its third year, Bennett said he was focusing this school year on repairing what he claims was a decade of decline in math and science.
“We moved from 13,000 graduates in science and math in 2006 to 8,900 in 2012 and by the end of this year, we are going to achieve 18,000 graduates of 5 units of math,” Bennett said of the volunteer initiative’s impact.
He also noted “jumps” that schools in the periphery have experienced in recent years. “We are seeing most of these improvements in places like Yeroham, Kiryat Shmona, Rahat and Kiryat Malachi.”
This year, Bennett is using the Give Me Five model to go after improvements in the English curriculum.
The program, funded by an investment of some NIS 70 million, aims to increase the number of students studying English at five matriculation units; improve English speaking and comprehension skills; and fill the significant lack of teachers who are qualified to teach the language.
“Here the problem is different,” Bennett said about challenges of the new initiative. “It’s not about five units or four units, it’s about what they learn. And what I’ve noticed is that kids learn… but they don’t know how to speak English. So the main goal is to move from theory to…