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Sunday, December 16, 2012
PM Netanyahu and Education Minister Saar Meet with School Teachers and Principals from Around the Country

PM Netanyahu and Education Minister Saar Meet with School Teachers and
Principals from Around the Country
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Gideon Saar, this
morning (Sunday, 16 December 2012), at the Prime Minister's Office in
Jerusalem, met with school principals and teachers from around the country
and commended them on the significant jump in pupils' achievements on the
international tests.

Attending the meeting were principals and teachers from all areas of study
in which pupils were tested in the international TIMSS
http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2013009
and PIRLS
http://www.iea.nl/?id=288
examinations

mathematics, sciences, Hebrew and Arabic. Prime Minister Netanyahu showed
them a 2,700-year-old seal from the era of King Hezekiah from a place that,
today, is near the Western Wall, and which bears the name, in the ancient
Hebrew script, "Netanyahu."

At the Cabinet meeting, which was dedicated to the issue and which continued
for three hours, Education Minister Saar presented the pupils' achievements.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "We want Zionism and excellence, excellence
for all. In the State of Israel, we want people to be familiar with their
heritage."

At the start of the Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Education
Minister Saar made the following remarks:

Prime Minister Netanyahu:
"Today, I would like to commend Education Minister Saar and the teachers who
are here
http://www.pmo.gov.il/English/MediaCenter/Spokesman/Pages/spokeedu111212.aspx
We have here an extraordinary achievement by the education system. We know
that in recent years, we declined on the international tests and it seemed
that the people of the book had simply drifted away from its special
designation and purpose to pursue excellence. We said: We are restoring
Zionism and excellence science and heritage. We said so and we did it, and
there are very great achievements here thanks to Israel's teachers, thanks
to the parents, thanks to the director generals, and thanks to the
leadership of the Education Minister, the Education Ministry and the
unwavering support of the Government of Israel. We invested resources. We
gave our support and backing so that we might reach today. I do not want to
say that a great miracle happened here because this was not a miracle, this
was a considered policy in which we changed the entire trend.

These are very great achievements. They stem from the willingness to set
goals for excellence and to adhere to them, invest in them and not be
concerned about being measured according to them. I think that this was
simply a very great achievement for the State of Israel and for Israelis.

In order to maintain our advantage, we must look forward and prepare for the
two great challenges that await us. The first is the anticipated change in
the global high-tech sector. We must make the necessary adjustments in order
to remain at the forefront of tech industries even after these changes. The
second is the significance of education in the age of the Internet, and how
we deal with the paradox in which the cost of higher education around the
world continues to climb, at a time when the cost of information is
declining in all areas thanks to its widespread availability on the
Internet. Successfully dealing with these challenges will help not only
maintain the achievements that we have reached in recent years but also
improve the situation of education in Israel even more."

Education Minister Saar:

"Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. At the start of my remarks, I would, first
of all, like to thank you. Without your personal backing for all of the
reforms, for all of the measures that we implemented and without the change
in the place of education on the national list of priorities, which found
expression in the state budget, we could not have carried out the same
revolution that has been seen in the achievements and there has been a
dramatic revolution in the achievements of Israeli pupils.

The impressive achievements by the pupils, in all areas, are the results,
first of all, of hard work. But what happened here is not just a revolution
in achievements it is, first of all, a revolution in awareness. It is a
revolution that says we can.

I tell the State of Israel and the Jewish People, in principle, according to
our tradition of the love of study, of intellect and of perspicaciousness,
even 7th place need not be the maximum achievement. We can reach better
achievements and believe that we can do so in the future, and we can.

I, first of all, would like to thank the pedagogical staff. This is a great
group that gives its soul, that works with a sense of mission, everyone
preaches to it and explains to it how to do education. Teachers are the most
important group in the country you can hold your heads high.

The education system has experienced a great success and attempts to disturb
this sense of success are nationally irresponsible. If we continue on this
path, we can anticipate that we will lead in education and we will lead the
western countries, as we have already proven that this is possible."

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