Teachers Demand Extra Pay for Civics Projects

The Secondary School Teachers Association (SSTA) has threatened not to implement the Education Ministry's directive to monitor students' year-long civics projects if the teachers are not paid to do so, SSTA head Ran Erez said. "We will not agree for the teachers to be burdened with additional tasks without remuneration," Erez said. The Education Ministry said in response, "it is best for the SSTA not to interfere in the ministry's pedagogical decisions."

The expansion of civics is considered one of Education Minister Yuli Tamir's flagship projects. The projects, which will begin next year, will involve research into a number of areas. Among the areas are aspects of local government, Knesset activity and the media. Students who will work in groups will be asked to survey relevant literature and interview individuals involved in the field of study. The report they submit will count toward 15-20 percent of their civic studies grade.

"No one spoke to us about remuneration," Erez said. "The teachers must now advise the students, and check their work. It takes a lot of time to do these things. This is a very heavy demand, almost impossible considering the burdens teachers already bear. We are expected to work without pay," Erez also said.

According to civics teacher Shlomo Weinberg from Afula, work with the students on the project could take up to as much as half the teaching hours now devoted to civics.

"The nickle-and-diming the SSTA is doing is causing damage to the teachers and the education system," a ministry official said. Another source said the ministry was prepared to pay the teachers, but nothing had been decided yet.