"This is a revolution. These three weeks will be educational, not a babysitter," Piron said.
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Lapid said the program's objective is to save parents from spending thousand of shekels each year on summer camps. The program will cost parents a maximum of 400 NIS, depending on their socio-economic class.
"There is a lack of coordination between workdays and school vacation days, and it's a burden," he said. "Our job is to switch the situation. Starting this summer, grade 1 and 2 students will stay at school for three weeks of a summer-school framework. The following year grades 3 and 4 will be added, and the year after grades 5 and 6 will be added."
Parents will pay based on their socio-economic class, Lapid said. Parents who live in cities with an economic ranking of 1-4 won't pay at all. Rankings 5-7 will pay 300 NIS for the three weeks, and those from the 8-10 rankings will pay 400 NIS.
There's a special importance in this that it's the education system that led the change, Lapid said. "We can mold values and traits that you can't find at any summer camp or with any babysitter."
Piron promised that the program wouldn't affect teachers' aides, who will receive additional wages. "We're talking about 200,000 grade 1 and 2 students," he said. "It's not a pilot project, it's a revolution."
Vice President of Keren L'Yedidut (International Fellowship of Christians and Jews) said the organization was honored to be part of the new program.
"The fellowship's role is to strengthen populations in distress, seniors and children. We're happy about the opportunity that was given to us to be part of the program," she said. "We're very proud to be partners to this significant change that's happening in the education system in Israel."
The program will operate until July 21, Sundays to Thursdays, from 8 am to 1 pm. Students will learn in groups of 28, and they will include teachers, student teachers and professional instructors.
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