Education Min. Slams Report Pushing Student Cash Incentives

Education Minister Yuli Tamir said yesterday that she opposed monetary incentives for students, calling them "the least educational" of any incentive for success.

Tamir was commenting on the results of a research project, reported yesterday in Haaretz, which found that such incentives improved students' success in matriculation exams by about 30 percent.

"You can give other incentives, like a scholarship for continued higher education or preparation for psychometric tests," Tamir said.

"Today we are focusing on deepening content and improving learning methods. The experiment in which students received monetary grants is not on the agenda," said Education Ministry director general Shlomit Amihai.

Avi Benvenisti, the principal of Tel Aviv's Ironi Tet high school in south Tel Aviv, said matriculation success rates at his school had improved by almost 50 percent over the past two years, and now stand at 74 percent.

"If I had NIS 6,000, I would not invest it in giving money to students, but rather in funding support and reinforcement programs," he said. "The improvement was made by systematic work of the whole school. We don't have to reinvent the wheel."

However, Ran Erez, the head of the Secondary School Teachers Association, called the incentives "an interesting idea that should not be rejected outright. Everyone should know that you have to work and be rewarded for it. Students' work are their studies."