5X2 Partners Meet With Minister of Education Naftali Bennett
The meeting focused on the directions and steps that the 5×2 Initiative is taking in cooperation with the Ministry of Education's national program, aimed at expanding the circle of excellence in Math, Physics, Chemistry and Engineering in 2015-2016 and the following school years.
On Wednesday, October 28, 2015, members of the 5×2 Initiative's Partners Network met with the Minster of Education, Naftali Bennett. Over 100 people representing around 80 third, corporate and public sector organizations attended the meeting.
The purpose of the meeting was to present the directions and steps that the 5×2 Initiative is taking in cooperation with the Ministry of Education's national program, aimed at expanding the circle of excellence in Math, Physics, Chemistry and Engineering in 2015-2016 and the following school years.
The meeting was opened by Shlomo Dushi, the Managing Director of Sheatufim, which has served as 5×2's backbone organization since its founding in 2013.
Minister of Education Bennett welcomed the participants and spoke about the common task: "I am moved to see so many organizations mobilize for a national cause. What we are creating here are genuine equal rights in Israel, regardless of religion, race, gender or geography. We will give every boy and girl the chance to thrive."
Mohana Fares, who heads the National Program for Excellence in Math and Science at the Ministry of Education, reviewed the major components of the program and the values it is founded on: "It's not only about 5 study units in Math, but rather about breaking the pedagogical paradigm. The more students who take 5 study units in Math, Physics and Chemistry, the better it is for Israel's economy, for academia, for the defense industry, and also for society as a whole. First and foremost, the program has a social objective – and is designed to promote education and give all students in Israel an equal opportunity."
Apart from Mohana, Yuval Moskowitz, a 12th grader at the Lapid Modi'in Yeshiva High School, also spoke at the meeting. He shared his personal story and the decision he made last year to transition from 4 study units in Math to 5 study units.
Inbar Hurvitz, who manages the 5×2 Initiative and is the director of the Collective Impact Section at Sheatufim, introduced the different speakers as well as the collective impact model that 5×2 operates according to. (Click here for the opening presentation). Inbar presented the roadmap that deals with teachers and students, which is a product of the work done by two teams. Through a collaborative process, they defined the elements that are necessary in order to successfully foster excellence. The roadmap guides the joint activities of the organizations that are members of 5×2.
Based on the elements of excellence that comprise the core of the roadmap, a number of speakers briefly presented some key issues and examples of what is being done in the field:
- Maximizing the students' potential: Rabbi Moshe Lustig, the principal of the Lustig School for Ultra-Orthodox Girls.
- Developing know-how and skills with an emphasis on investigative tasks: Dr. Aurelle Lachish Zalait, Head of the Teachers Unit, Davidson Institute.
- Teachers and subject excellence: Prof. Atara Shriki, Oranim Academic College of Education.
- Tailoring a solution to each child: Dr. Leah Dolev, Director of Math Instruction, ORT Israel Network.
- Pedagogical excellence with an emphasis on the community of teachers: Alina Colton, Physics teacher, ORT Binyamina.
- Teachers' personal and professional development: Aryeh Maimon, Head of the Education Administration, Ashdod Municipality.
- The role of the principal in creating a school climate that fosters excellence: Shlomi Dahan, Principal of Ironi Heh High School, Haifa.
Bella Abrahams, Deputy CEO and Director of Government and Public Affairs at Intel Israel and a member of the Initiative's steering committee, spoke about increasing the students' motivation to choose 5 study units in Math and Science. She described the activities of the 5×2 business coalition and how it has mobilized to promote the Ministry of Education's "Give Me Five" campaign. As a result of that campaign, another 9 hi-tech companies have come on board and the business coalition currently consists of 31 members. The inspirational lectures they deliver are expected to reach 450 schools this year – compared to 200 schools last year.
Dafna Dor, the CEO of A Different Lesson – the association that runs the "Shiur BeYachad" teaching support program – reviewed how individual volunteers have become involved following the Ministry of Education's campaign. Over 1,000 people have asked to volunteer, of whom 420 have begun undergoing training so they can provide teaching support at the schools.
The Minister of Education wrapped up the first part of the meeting with a call for continued joint efforts.
In the second part of the meeting, discussions were held about three topics that the Initiative's steering committee defined as being the key issues which will be addressed in the coming year: fostering motivation and a sense of self-efficacy, increasing the number of people who choose teaching as a career, and maximizing the potential for excellence in the periphery. The purpose of the discussions was preliminary brainstorming prior to convening the work teams that will deal with these issues. The work teams will study the issues and then plan and implement courses of action.