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A similar plan was implemented during the last school year amongst 8th grade students in schools.across the country. However this time around the Education Ministry has decided to put an emphasis on the importance of analyzing and writing long texts, containing some 700 to 1,000 words.
Students will be instructed to use reading materials from the popular press and reference books in order to practice writing analytical reports, opinions and essays. They will also be asked to explain the meanings of florid style texts, phrases and idioms.
According to the Education Ministry, teachers have preferred using short texts to practice reading and writing skills with students mainly due to time constraints and convenience.
"This impacts vocabulary, articulation and understanding skills of the students, who are already living in an electronic era in which messages are usually short and superficial," explained an Education Ministry supervisor.
A Levinsky College of Education official added that "writing and reading are supposedly instinctive skills, but someone who's not trained and can't express himself properly will not be able to succeed in higher learning, write a resume or triumph a job interview."
The dwindling language skills among youths are not exclusive to Israel but can be seen across the Western world, explained the Levinsky College official. "In order to reach a breakthrough when it comes to international achievements the Education Ministry must make a long term effort. Writing skills must be constantly practiced, but teens today hardly ever write. Even when they read short texts online its done in a superficial way."
Meanwhile, a new education reform was signed Sunday afternoon by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar and Middle and High School Teachers' Association chairman Ran Erez.
According to the new reform, one in every 10 schools will be ranked each year as having reached exemply academic and social achievements. In turn, teachers at that school will be rewarded with a grant of approximately NIS 3,000 to NIS 8,000 ($845 to $2,254).
High school teachers will also have to work 40-hour weeks instead of 24-hours for an additional 42% pay.
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