Schools Change with Rapidity in Palestine

In common with other Western reforms which are sweeping through Palestine as a result of British rule and Jewish immigration, education there is rapidly changing.

This statement is made in The Schoolmistress, a British magaine, in a recent issue.

The Jews, the article says, are passionately anxious to equip their sons and daughters with the best possible teaching.

“At times their zeal outgrows their financial discretion,” the writer, Louis Katin, admits.

“It is a far cry from the old Jewish educational system to the new,” he points out. “The old equipped the child entirely for a religious life—a life of mystical learning.

“In Palestine the new education is finding its way by experiment. There is no native tradition, other than the religious one, and a new scholastic tradition has therefore been set up.

“Perhaps the biggest obstacle to a uniform system of teaching is cosmopolitanism. It is estimated that Jews from fifty countries are in Palestine, each community with its own language, traditions and ideas of education.

“To overcome this difficulty and to prepare immigrant children for life in Palestine, a group of teachers in Tel Aviv have just opened a school there. Its necessity may be gauged from one kindergarten where thirty-five pupils speak eleven languages among them.

“Today German refugee children are complicating the problem, but German refugee educationists are adding their experience to solve it.

“It should be explained here that education is not compulsory in Palestine, though the country is now under British mandate…. Pupils must pay, normally, according to the parents’ income….

“Most spectacular of the Jewish education experiments are the three Children’s Villages. Here the older children are autonomous, and generally freedom and self-discipline are the keynote. Pupils are in a family of twenty or so, and divided into age groups, with a “mother” for each family….

“Agriculture is the main subject taught, the aim being to instill into the Jews, from their tenderest years, a love of the land.”

After mentioning the technical and handicraft schools, the schools of fine and applied art, and the Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus, the article concludes:

“Because of money scarcity, salaries are low, elementary school teachers receiving only £8 a month. Even this wage is threatened, for the government, appealed to by the Zionist authorities for a bigger grant, make reduced salaries a condition.

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