Report Shows Improvement in Jewish Education in Argentina

After years of steady decline, the state of Jewish education in Argentina is beginning to show some slight improvement, according to a report delivered by Haim Finkelstone, head of the Jewish Agency’s education department, to the Agency Executive.

Six new Jewish schools had been set up in outlying areas this year as the first stage of a comprehensive education plan devised by Jewish Agency chairman Pinhas Sapir during his visit to Argentina last year, Finkelstone said. The overall figures showed an increase of 500 in the number of children enrolled at Jewish schools in Argentina, But the total figure was only 20,000, Finkelstone continued. The basic problem was a shortage of teachers, especially young teachers.

Altogether in Argentina there are some 1100 teachers of Hebrew or Jewish studies. But the profession stood low in the social and financial scale and for that reason it was attracting few new applicants.

This situation could not be corrected by the dispatch of “shlichim” (emissaries) from Israel, Finkelstone said. The shlichim could be best employed as educational advisors in the schools–but the solution must be devised by the Jewish communities on the spot. He added that “Machon Gold” and “Machon Greenberg,” two World Zionist Organization teachers’ training colleges in Jerusalem providing diploma courses for overseas students, could make a significant contribution in alleviating the situation.

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