Israeli Official Announces New System to Halt School Drop-outs

Far-reaching changes will be introduced in Israel’s school system beginning next term to speed integration and halt drop-outs among the children of Middle Eastern and North African families, who now number 55 percent of the population. This was announced here today to the national executive committee of the National Council of Jewish Women by Eliezer Shmueli, director of the Post-Elementary School Authority in Israel’s Ministry of Education.

Mr. Shmueli is one of 120 Israeli educators and welfare specialists who received graduate training in American universities, sponsored by fellowships provided by the Jewish women’s educational and service organization. He addressed a noon session of the executive committee, whose four-day meeting at the Council’s national headquarters opened yesterday.

One-third of Israel’s 50 academic secondary schools will be transformed in the fall, declared Mr. Shmueli, into schools offering not only four-year matriculating diplomas for those going on to universities, but also less exacting four-year “finishing diplomas” for pupils who may enter business, the officer corps or other non-professional careers, and “practical” diplomas after two or three years of vocational study for pupils who will go on to office work, banking, accounting, nursing and technical fields.

The official explained that this plan is expected to benefit the 50 percent of children who now drop out of academic secondary schools because “at least the child will be able to graduate and won’t suffer the stigma of failure. ” “He will be able to go to work, too, for which he is not now prepared after dropping out of an academic course, “added Mr, Shmueli. “This will be important to Israel’s economy, which is badly in need of skilled and semiskilled workers.”

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