Access to Opportunity
Many students say that quality teaching made all the difference for them and note that their attraction to a particular subject can be largely attributed to an outstanding teacher. Indeed, there are excellent mathematics and science teachers in Israeli schools. However, a substantial number of teachers are now approaching retirement age, and consequently, there is a severe shortage reflected in the closing of study tracks and assignment of unsuitable teachers from the school teaching staff. This is an enormous challenge, but also a great opportunity.
There is a need to help the education system develop its next generation of mathematics and science teachers. This is an opportunity to make sure that these new teachers are excellent and that they receive the best training and coaching, so that they can adapt their teaching to the needs of all students, no matter their background, gender or socio-economic level.
The building of this teaching generation is a ten-year process whose scope is a function of the prospective growth in the number of students.
In Israel of 2012, there were a significant number of students interested in and capable of studying five-unit mathematics and science, yet they did not do so because their schools did not offer these classes. This situation resulted from the fact that many schools are unable to recruit teachers, or due to the small number of students, they cannot justify opening a class.
The solution to this problem is to train a new generation of excellent teachers. However, the process of professional training and development of teachers is long-term. In addition, the work conditions of small schools in distant locations mean that they have difficulty opening these classes, and this situation is expected to continue. Thus, in order to expand access to opportunity for students in these schools, distance learning must be made available to students who are ready to accept the challenge.