Ministry Retraining Plan Oversubscribed

Demand for the Education Ministry program allowing college graduates to retrain as teachers was so great that its capacity was expanded from 75 to 100 students, the ministry said. A ministry statement stressed that most of the students enrolled in the program had not held regular jobs recently, and their anticipated integration in the school system would provide them with "secure employment in an economically unstable period."

The new education minister, Gideon Sa'ar (Likud), recently said he supports this and similar projects.

The program, first published in Haaretz, allows students to enroll in a fast-track, six-months English teaching training, at the end of which they immediately begin teaching in elementary and high schools, taking additional courses simultaneously. The next academic year will see the program expand to include math and sciences, with the participation of some 250 students. Veteran teachers have criticized the program, saying that the ministry should invest in the conditions of those teachers already at work, with years of experience, instead of training a new workforce.

The Education Ministry's director of training, Noah Greenfeld, said, "The students have a proven employment record, with some 40 percent hailing from the high-tech industry. They passed their English tests with near perfect scores."