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Sunday, September 10, 2017 

More Haredi students in Israel are learning core curriculum

This Haaretz article gives some positive news:
Ultra-Orthodox society describes its educational system as “the flask of pure oil,” recalling the pure oil used to relight the menorah in the Temple after it was liberated during the Hasmonean revolt. This reflects the ultra-Orthodox (or Haredi) approach to education – a conservative one that seeks to bequeath unadulterated Haredi values to the next generation.

Nevertheless, there have been slow but noticeable changes as an increasing number of ultra-Orthodox schools join the state-Haredi system, established a few years ago to accommodate education institutions seeking to teach the full core curriculum under Education Ministry supervision.

The ministry’s Haredi sector officials refused to release the latest data on such schools and preschools. They fear that publishing the information would unleash attacks against the schools by ultra-Orthodox extremists who believe these institutions are “selling out” in a shameful fashion – contaminating the “flask of pure oil” in return for government funding.

But data obtained by Haaretz shows that the state-Haredi system has nearly doubled in size over the past 2 1/2 years. While there were 30 preschools and 30 schools operating as part of the state-Haredi system in 2015, there are now 100 preschools and more than 40 schools in the system, educating a total of 7,500 children, as compared to 4,000 in 2015.

This is still only a small fraction of the total ultra-Orthodox student population, which numbers some 440,000 youngsters from kindergarten through high school, including special education programs. Some of the state-Haredi schools are geared toward formerly secular parents who became observant, but most are aimed at classic ultra-Orthodox families who want their children to learn a high-level core curriculum not available at many Haredi schools.
In any event, I figure it's a good omen. And it'll be even more of a good omen once they can learn how to interact in terms of dialect, if anything, with wider society, ditto between the sexes.

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