The Israeli Educational System's Response to Current Societal, Economic, and Political Changes

In: Education Reform in Societies in Transition

The chapter will start with a brief analysis of processes and features of transition, characterising current Israel. Israelis live in constant uncertainty emerging from the unstable political context, accompanied by anxiety caused by the absence of peace and security. Israel is an extremely heterogeneous country with ongoing immigration from all over the world, leading to a dynamic and ever changing societal structure. The chapter will note some changes related to economy, technology, media and communication.

The transformational trends of school structure and curricula will be described, analysed and discussed in the framework of the elements previously presented and the relevant theoretical viewpoints and studies. Several main aspects of the response of the educational system will be emphasised in light of appropriate research findings:

• The tension between school autonomy and the aspiration for unity and control of educational authorities.

• The tension between striving for excellence and the desire for equity and equality of opportunity.

• The multicultural tension between different ssectors of society such as diverse ethnic and religious groups.

• The tension between parents' aims, beliefs and behavioural norms.

Strategies and programmes, based on a theoretical background, policy, curricula documents, prevailing practice and evolving from the issues above, will be presented and discussed. The chapter will conclude with suggestions for a conceptual framework for examining the educational implications for life in transitional societies.