"We have no intention of stopping here. The cancellation of the standardized tests is a prelude to the larger move of dramatically reducing (the number) of matriculation exams," Finance Minister Yair Lapid said Saturday following Education Minister Shai Piron's decision to cancel the Meitzav standardized exams in the coming school year.
In a message to his supporters, Lapid welcomed the decision by his fellow Yesh Atid party member. "Anyone who attended a Yesh Atid campaign rally knows that (dropping the standardized tests) was (one of our main) campaign promises," Lapid wrote.
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"This does not mean our children will study less literature or history, but it will be learning for the sake of learning, for the soul and for knowledge, rather than the pointless memorization to pass the test and then forget everything the next day," he said.
The Meitzav achievement exam, which is used to evaluate schools, was administered to fifth and eighth-graders at schools around the country, testing language, math and science skills.
Piron's predecessor in the Education Ministry, Gideon Sa'ar, described the decision to freeze the comparative exams in elementary and junior high schools as "a very dangerous thing to the system" that will lead to the "deterioration of academic achievements."
Lapid denied recent reports according to which the Finance Ministry is proposing to cut pension payments by as much as 10% starting from January 2014. "Sometimes it just stops being funny. I open the newspaper and read that I have decided to cut pensions by 10%. I never made such a decision," he wrote.
Addressing the increased tax on luxury items, the finance minister said: "If someone wants a yacht or a plane that is his prerogative, but fairness dictates that the State demand more from him."
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