Israel's Education Ministry to Alter Matriculation Schedule to Ease Burden on Students, Teachers

Additional dates added for history and computer science exams after teachers and students complained of too many tests in the same week.

A teacher asks a question during a class at the Yeshiva high school Chachme Lev in Jerusalem. March 15, 2016.
AP

The Education Ministry intends making changes to the high school matriculation exam schedule to ease the burden on students and teachers, the ministry announced Tuesday.

These changes are being made at the last minute, less than a month before the beginning of the matriculation season. Among other changes, the ministry will allocate additional dates for the mandatory history and computer science exams.

The decision to implement changes was made after both teachers and students complained that the burden was too great during the week in which those exams are scheduled. Students who elect to be tested on both dates will be awarded the higher mark from among the two.

The exam period pressure was created by the “Israel moves up a class” reform, which eliminated the matriculation exam in 10th grade and the winter 11th grade exam, but created additional burdens at the end of 11th and 12th grades.

Despite promises by Shay Piron, the previous education minister, matriculation exams in various subjects were not canceled. Education Ministry officials are now seriously considering whether to overturn Piron’s decision and restore the matriculation exam to 10th grade in order to ease the burden on students.

The ministry has also decided to open the winter dates for 11th grade Hebrew and history to all examinees, after previously reserving them for special populations. In an additional, one-time move, 11th graders will be obliged to do 75 hours of community service, rather than the usual 90 hours, this school year and next.

“The decision regarding the changes was made after a series of discussions headed by Michal Cohen, the ministry’s director general, and later in district principals’ conferences that took place in February,” the ministry said.

It added that the decision also took into account meetings held in December with principal and teacher representatives, supervisors, student council representatives, parents’ organizations and representatives of education departments from local authorities.