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Israeli government pushes ELT project

The Israeli Ministry of Education has announced an overhaul of the national English language teaching programs in its schools, in a bid to improve spoken English and “shape a graduate with skills that will help him integrate into the changing global world”.

The Israeli government in Jerusalem has produced a national policy to improve English skill.The Israeli government in Jerusalem has produced a national policy to improve English skill. Photo: Flickr/David King

The Ministry is planning on recruiting 1,000 professional English teachers

The new system, due to be rolled out in 2018, is comprised of three main aims: improving spoken English, improving the levels of adult English, and strengthening the quality of instruction.

“From elementary to high school, Israeli students will begin to develop skills in English”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that being able to communicate in English is vital for success in a globalised world.

“Beginning [2018], the education system will be transferred to spoken English. To this end, we have formulated the ‘Give Me Five’ program that will enter the schools in the coming school year,” he said.

“From elementary to high school, Israeli students will begin to develop skills in the English language and will receive tools to learn how to express themselves. In today’s global world, this program is crucial to the future of our children.”

In order to promote spoken English, oral exams – some using Skype – will be introduced as well as inaugurating English libraries as a basis for improving reading and speaking for children in grades four, five and six.

Last year, around 350 students took part in pilot exams using Skype and an online test which was deemed a success. This will be rolled out across high schools in 2020.

Education Ministry Director-General Shmuel Abuav said that lessons will centre around improving spoken language skills.

“The components include a focus on the development of new language skills that deal with her oral discourse, which will be integrated into all stages of education from elementary to high school.”

Abuav explained that state investment in reading materials will encourage English understanding from a young age.

“In order to assimilate the skills, we will ensure that at the elementary education stage, students will have a dialogue in English by reading books that we will purchase and place in classrooms,” he said.

The Ministry is planning to recruit 1,000 professional English teachers and 950 teaching assistants from Israel and abroad. It will also grant scholarships worth 21,000 Israeli Shekel to recruit students to teach English.

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Education told The PIE News that the Skype oral exams will be given by Israeli English teachers.

“The teachers are hired through schools by the Ministry of Education. They are trained in designated programs in 14 colleges around the country,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that teachers from abroad had already been trained.

“38 American trained teachers came for a different program to the south of the country through Massa and have started teaching.”

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