Education Panel to Vote on Controversial Parents' Fees

MKs to vote on fees for trips and activities, which highlight financial gaps between students.

Haaretz Staff
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Haaretz Staff

The Knesset Education Committee will convene on Wednesday to vote on controversial fees paid by parents to fund various school activities.

For years, the committee has been pressured into approving the fees just days before schools open, causing a large financial burden to fall on the parents.

For the first time in 13 years, the committee has resisted approving the move, demanding only that the parents provide insurance for schoolchildren to the school year can start.

The vote on the other fees was postponed until Wednesday. The fees are thought to be representative of the socio-economic gaps between families, as poor parents often have to pay a relatively high percentage of their annual income to support school activities, such as field trips, parties and after-school events.

Since the beginning of the school year, committee members have been under pressure from organizations that supply the student activities to approve the payment, as well as from the Education Ministry, which says the state can't afford to take on the cost.

MK Yuli Tamir (Labor) has offered a compromise, wherein a fund will be created to assist families that cannot afford to make the payments.

The committee members will also address the issue of alternative venues of education, which many wealthy families supply for their children, but weaker parents cannot afford, such as private lessons and cultural activities.

The state is not as yet willing to take on cost of these additional activities. Thus, the Education Ministry has said it is concerned that, should the fees not be approved, weaker students could suffer more, as these kinds of additional programs are canceled for lack of funding.

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