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The Education Ministry is planning courses to train college graduates to teach English, due to the expected shortage of English teachers and the large number of recently fired workers.

The new teachers will start teaching after six months, while continuing their training.

Education Minister Yuli Tamir said the NIS 250 million project is intended to recruit university graduates who lost their jobs due to the economic crisis. Many of the 75 program participants are expected to be recently fired high-tech workers.

The first part of the program will begin in mid-March. At the opening of the school year on September 1 the teachers will receive full-time positions in schools. Meanwhile, they will continue their training and teach under close supervision.

The next stage will be to train 250 new math and science teachers, ministry officials said.

Project participants will receive financial benefits including free tuition, a living expense scholarship during the course and a starting monthly salary of NIS 5,300. The salary, which is much higher than that of a beginning teacher, is intended to attract recently fired people, especially from high-tech companies, who are fluent in English.

The new teachers will be asked to sign a contract stipulating that they will work as teachers for three years. If they drop out of the program, they will be asked to return the financial benefits.