Schools to take in Ethiopian students
After weeks of uncertainty and strike threats, agreement reached on education crisis in Petah Tikva. Three religious private schools to admit 108 children of Ethiopian descent this year, 30 of whom will begin studying Tuesday morning as school year begins
Yaheli Moran Zelikovich • Ynet
The education crisis involving students of Ethiopian descent in Petah Tikva has been resolved. In a meeting held Monday evening at Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar's office, it was decided that three religious private schools would take in 108 students of Ethiopian decent in the coming year.
Thirty of the children will begin studying in the three institutions on Tuesday, when the school year begins, and 18 others will be admitted in the coming weeks, immediately after arriving in the city.
Petah Tikva Mayor Yitzhak Ohayon, Education Ministry Director-General DR. Shimshon Shoshani and professional teams decided that the students would be taken in according to municipality lists, which would be delivered to the Education Ministry by the evening hours, and without any classification.
The 60 additional Ethiopian students, who are expected to arrive in the city throughout the school year, will be admitted to the private schools and not to state religious institutions, in accordance with the Education Ministry's decision.
In addition, the Education Ministry and the Petah Tikva Municipality will appoint a joint team to examine the policy of integrating Ethiopian students in a wider perspective.
Education Minister Sa'ar expressed his satisfaction with the compromise. "The agreement reached implements the principles presented by us in terms of the extent of absorption in the three institutions. We will follow the way this is implemented on the ground."
The decision came after Supreme Court Judge Ayala Procaccia had ruled that the Education Ministry, the education minister and the Petah Tikva Municipality must respond within 48 hours to the request to admit all students of Ethiopian descent into the city's schools.
Some 30 representatives of the Ethiopian community protested Monday against the education crisis in Petah Tikva's private schools. The activists were joined by parents and children and gathered outside the Knesset building in Jerusalem where an urgent meeting of the Education Committee convened. A separate larger demonstration was held in Petah Tikva.
What will happen?
I suspect these schools will refuse to take Ethiopian children later in the school year. At the same time, I wouldn't be surprised if Absorption officials begin to discourage Ethiopians from moving to Petah Tikva.