Education System in Disarray, as Ministry Battles Teachers Over Extending School Year

YERUSHALAYIM -
A closed school in Tzfas, as part of preventive measures amid fears over the spread of the coronavirus. (David Cohen/Flash90)

The Education Ministry petitioned Thursday to the National Labor Court to force the Secondary School Teachers’ Association to have members work for nine additional days after the scheduled completion of the school year.

With one day to go before the scheduled end of the year for middle and high schoolers, Israel’s education system was in disarray as the Education Ministry and the teachers’ union remained at odds over the possible extension of the academic year.

Israel’s education system was closed from mid-March to mid-May in efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus. As a result, the school year has been extended into July, but union officials for middle school and high school teachers have pushed back on Education Ministry requirements to continue teaching into the summer months.

Education Minister Yoav Galant announced earlier in the week that the school year was to be extended by nine days, but the head of the Secondary School Teachers’ Association, Ran Erez, said that no agreement has been reached to keep its teachers in classrooms beyond Friday.

The union representing elementary school teachers has already agreed on an extension to the school year, but said the deal was conditioned on all teachers working the extra days.

The Finance Ministry has warned it will reduce the salaries of teachers who refuse to teach for the additional nine days.