About a year ago, the Education Ministry formulated an ambitious plan "to suit the educational system to the 21st century," as senior ministry officials, beginning with Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, phrased it at the time.

"Readying the education system for the digital age is a necessity, not an option," he said. "The gap between the living environment and the learning environment in the schools must be closed."

But the modest budget allocated to the program - NIS 420 million for the next two years with the promise of more to follow in the years to come - was only enough for a modest beginning.

According to the Knesset report presented to the Knesset Education Committee yesterday, there is a link between the level of computerization in schools and students' reading skills.

According to an analysis by the National Authority for Measurement and Evaluation in Education of the results of the latest OECD Program for International Student Assessment tests, the average student-to-computer ratio among OECD member states ranges from 1.16 (New Zealand ) to 0.60 (Germany ).

In contrast, all the states with a computerization rate equal to or lower than that of Israel (0.37 ) achieved average reading comprehension scores that were below the international average.