No increase in oversight of haredi education
Education minister promised half a year ago to beef up supervision at haredi schools, but nothing was done. No sign of new inspectors for the independent school networks
Just half a year ago the education minister, Gideon Saar, declared from the Knesset podium that the number of inspectors for haredi schools would be tripled. “Insofar as institutions or inspectors provided incorrect data on the extent of core studies at a given institution, I view the matter gravely, and all the necessary measures will be taken,” he said at the time.
Saar’s statements came after the absence of supervision at haredi institutions was exposed. As Army Radio’s Talila Nesher reported, Sa’ar announced that, for the first time in years, he would be enforcing the attorney general’s directive that funding for schools be budgeted according to the extent of their compliance with the core curriculum. The education minister further vowed that if a school was discovered not to be teaching math, English, and sciences for the requisite number of hours, its budget would be revoked.
His announcement was made last July, and since then more than half the school year has gone by. The manpower roster at haredi institutions remains unchanged. The tenders were published back in October and were supposed to close in November, but this is not what happened. There are still no new inspectors for the independent school networks.
Shahar Ilan, vice president of the NGO Hiddush – For Religious Freedom and Equality (the Israeli arm of Hiddush – Religious Freedom for Israel), says that he sincerely hopes that the lack of supervision has nothing to do with the great outcry that arose in the haredi population upon learning that Saar planned to take a hard line: “The very objection to oversight raises the question: What does haredi education have to hide? The answer to this is for the inspectors to discover, and the sooner the better,” Ilan said. “The delay is very disturbing, and hopefully is not related to the heavy pressure that United Torah Judaism exerted.”
The Education Ministry said in response that the tenders were held up, but nevertheless there are dozens of candidates and new dates have been set for holding the tenders, the deadline for which is March 7.