A proposal for an education and training vision
Every citizen and graduate of the Israeli school system will possess resilience in a changing world. The resilience will be based on a skillset, values and the ability to study independently, direct access to relevant banks of knowledge, and consistent contact with changes in the Job market.
1. Online learning and distance learning will be recognized as the basic right of every student in Israel.
2. An Appstore will be established, dedicated to education and training to serve all students in Israel. Every company, academic institution or school will be able to select which of the courses it recognizes.
3. The scale of the Bagrut matriculation exams will be reduced, and students will convert 20% of their studies into the independent study of courses according to their fields of interest and with the approval of the school, including final, online projects which are adapted to the employment market.
4. Teachers will be able to create and hold the rights to courses. The teachers will guide and accompany the students in the independent study process.
5. Companies and organizations will have access to systems for the development of digital courses, thus ensuring that the courses remain up to date and relevant.
The establishment of a model to narrow social gaps, increase the level of training and productivity of the workers, and raise a new generation of students in the State of Israel ready for the future we face.
The training courses of the necessary scope and maintaining the conditions for social distancing regulations cannot take place only within the traditional education system along (academic degrees, or training courses by companies who specialize in them).
Risks and opportunities
Risks and challenges
- Dropping out – A rise in the use of digital means will lead to a deepening and acceleration of students dropping out- a move that will be hard to monitor. In addition, it will also be hard to help those students who have no personal teacher-student connection. This is equally true for institutions of higher education, in which they lose the personal contact and social belonging which may lead to an increase in drop-outs.
- Learning gaps – The creation of rapid and dramatic dependence on technological means may cause students who lack digital literacy and easy access to be unable to get the most out of their distance learning. This gap is affected by the student’s personal details as well as by exogenous details such as those students coming from families from a lower socio-economic background, or from a more financially stable family, but one in which the parents are working and are unable to provide the attention or help required.
- Productivity – Productivity in Israel is 24% lower than the OECD average and the gap has not narrowed in recent decades. As a result of the crisis there is a serious danger of damage to the education and training of workers which will lead to an increase in the discrepancy in work productivity.
- Learning-led teaching –The core of the correct teaching process is the student. Today, with the existing technology and the massive use of distance teaching, an opportunity has arisen to integrate individually-adapted pedagogy by using existing digital tools, or those which will be developed in the future. This situation makes it possible for students to select their fields of study, while the teacher will be able to respond to each, individually.
- Direction for independent learning – The ability to learn independently is a required skill in the era of digital learning and training as well as for lifelong learning. Independent learning is crucial to occupational resilience in the environment in which the world is rapidly changing. Social distancing has clarified the need for autonomous learning skills.
- Increasing the studies on offer – Removing geographic and physical obstacles in the learning environment makes it possible to leverage flexibility for in order to increase the offer of educational products. It is possible to supply those learning with many more subjects to study, when the number of interested students is large but geographically distant.
- A range of teaching models – The removal of geographical obstacles through digital teaching has made it possible to implement a range of teaching models. This variety could allow every student and every teacher to find the right method for them.
- The unique nature of Israel in the world – Israel is a small country and therefore the cost of undergoing significant change is not great. Furthermore, Israel is characterized by a significantly export-based industry but is limited in size, (particularly insofar as hi-tech and security). Intelligent construction of a digital training system could lead to an increase of tens of percent in the number of employees in technology companies, while creating an opportunity to open up to the world of international training and employment, as well as working for international companies from within Israel and thus strengthen industrial, commercial and work ties with these companies.
- Reducing the traffic load and reducing environmental pollution – The move towards training and learning which integrate a range of digital tools will significantly lower the traffic burden all over the country, thus increasing work productivity, while reducing the air pollution and other economic and environmental harms caused by traffic.
Leveraging the crisis – steps to implementation
The education system is an enormous, complex one, in which change often takes decades. The system’s flexibility when faced with necessary changes is the key to its resilience. The proposed system will allow the Job market and academia to rapidly signal the education system and its students regarding the relevant skills at any point in time, while providing the system with the flexibility to adapt to a changing world. The system will allow organizations from the private sector, from the non-profit world and those involved in teaching and guidance to put up courses which will serve both the students and the Job market, as the schools and students select whatever is right for them.
- Basic right – Along with the compulsory education law, online and distance learning will be declared a basic right for all students in Israel, and it will be the responsibility of the Ministry of Education to ensure that every student in Israel has the opportunity for quality distance education.
- An “Appstore” will be established for courses and training (for example by expanding campus.gov.il – an index of courses from Israel and abroad). Within this environment the teachers, academic staff, industrialists and organizations will be able to add courses which will be controlled at a basic level by the Ministry of Education / the academic institution / the Ministry of Labor in order to ensure they are not misleading or of low value. The index will rank the courses and show endorsements of the courses by various organizations. Companies and organizations will be able to note courses which will provide an advantage in job searches for various positions and academic institutions will accept the courses toward degrees.
- Endorsement: The index will present grading by those studying the course as well as endorsement by various bodies, such as for example: the biology department at Tel Aviv University, the “Yeshkar” company, the supervisor for the history bagrut and the 8200 army unit. It will be possible to group courses as a “nano-degree” and to make registration in the course conditional upon completion of a previous course in the group. Endorsement is the main mechanism by which the Job market and universities will be able to communicate with the learning public and update them regarding the value of various skills they are acquiring. Companies and organizations can specify courses which will grant an advantage for acceptance to certain positions, and academic bodies can recognize courses as counting towards a degree.
- Availability and accessibility – The courses are open to all citizens of the State and businesses may fund participation in Appstore courses for their employees. The funding will be encouraged through tax breaks and other benefits in order to promote development of the human capital in the economy and realization of the vision of lifelong learning. The Social Security institution will fund participation for the unemployed.
- Free choice by educational institutions – Each school will be granted the freedom to select those courses it recognizes for its students from an extensive list. Students can choose the courses they are interested in from those authorized by the school and will be held responsible by the school to successfully complete the courses. Schools will allow school guidance for those students requiring assistance with digital learning.
- One day a week – One day a week will be defined for the upper high school grades during which learning will be independent and not based on teacher-class interaction. After a time, it will be possible to implement the model in the junior high schools and primary schools with the necessary adaptations.
- Reducing the bagrut load – The scope of the bagrut exams will be proportionally reduced, by at least 20%, in order to leave formal room on the certificate of completion of schooling for independent training.
- The role of the teacher – Teachers in this system have a role as course developers and schoolteachers as well as accompanying and checking student activities in the digital realm.
- Uploading courses – Teachers will be able to create and put up courses developed by them independently, and will be appropriately compensated in accordance with the number of students in the course as well as maintaining their copyright and receiving recognition from the Ministry of Education for the hours of development and maintenance of these courses. For this purpose, teacher will receive access to the digital course development systems as well as the appropriate training.
- As planners of the blended teaching. The courses in the learning environment will be able to be synchronic, a-synchronic or hybrid courses in which some of the learning is a-synchronic information transfer through online learning along with studies in small groups in which implementation of the knowledge is practiced and examined. Schoolteachers may integrate as group leaders in the blended courses.
- Guiding and directing students. Accompanying and guiding students in selecting courses which suit them along with providing support for the a-synchronic learning process.
- Dynamism and adaptation for industry purposes – Companies and organizations will have access to the digital course development systems and will be able to develop courses for employee training. These courses may serve the employees of the company and aid in training future workers in the field. Organizations and workers who develop and instruct courses will receive recognition and compensation in the form of tax benefits.