The Minister of Economics and Minister for the Development of the Negev, Arieh Deri, chose to open the new Israel school year in a WIZO Day Care Center in Jerusalem, where 110 children and babies began to learn yesterday.
The new school year in Israel opened with much excitement and two million pupils returned to the kindergartens and classrooms. This number included over 15,000 children in 183 WIZO Day Care Centers across the country, 5,500 youth in our schools and Day Care Centers, 1000 kindergarten children who attend WIZO afternoon centers at the end of the activities in the Day Care Centers and thousands more youth in various WIZO projects and community centers across the country, who enjoy extra tutoring, help with their homework and various courses.
The Minister of Economy in Israel supervises over the public Day Care Centers, including WIZO Day Care Centers. Out of all the Day Care Centers in Israel, the Minister of Economics chose to visit the WIZO Day Care Center in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood in Jerusalem.
The Neve Yaakov Day Care Center in Jerusalem, in the name of Nadine and Helene de Rothschild, is sponsored by WIZO Germany. It is a unique Day Care Center which combines classes of secular, religious and ultra orthodox children together and serves the whole specter of residents in the area. There do not exist many educational networks in Israel that successfully combines secular, religious and ultra orthodox, contributing to harmony which is so important to both ultra orthodox and the secular in Israeli society. In addition, the Day Care Center is a Multi Purpose Center, which provides therapy for families at risk who have been referred by the Ministry of Welfare. 40 children learn and remain in the Day Care Centers until the evening hours and receive support and professional therapy from a staff of caregivers and social workers.
There are six classes in the Day Care Center: Five learning classes and one evening kindergarten.
Recently the Day Care Center has undergone extensive renovations and renewal of all the classrooms, playgrounds and play apparatus in the Center thanks to the sponsoring federation, WIZO Germany, and the parents were excited to see the large investment that WIZO had made in their children. Minister Deri opened the visit by hanging a mezuzah in the new entrance and blessed the children and staff members wishing them success, health and a Happy New Year.
Minister Aryeh Deri was very impressed with the high standards in the DCC and thanked the WIZO Director General, Igal Dekel, the Director of the Early Age Division, Dr. Naomi Moreno and the educational staff who prepared his visit with such professionalism: the Director of the DCC, Gini Bruchin, the Supervisor of the DCC, Hana Avraham and the Administrative Organizer, Idit Hasson.
Minister Deri told everyone, 'I have been pleasantly surprised. I see the optimal conditions here for the children. The professional staff is devoted to providing warm and quality education. The classrooms are spacious and the apparatus is of a high quality and safe. I have nine children and eighteen grandchildren, unfortunately there is a stigma that DCC's are just babysitters and not educational institutions for the early age group. It is important that people realize that the reality is different. The problem is that we give this service only to part of the population and not all parents who want to enjoy this service on an equal basis.'
The Director General, Igal Dekel, thanked the Minster on his warm words and his cooperation between WIZO and the Ministry of Economics. Dekel proposed adding classrooms in existing DCC's in order to enable more families in society to receive education in public DCC's. He also asked to add budgeting for the building of DCC's and cut down the bureaucracy so that the operators of the Day Care Centers can receive budgets directly for the building of DCC's from the Ministry of Economics and not just through the local authorities which is the present source of funding.
In response Minister Deri replied: 'I support the moves to extend existing DCC's in order to supply the needs of the population and to provide an immediate solution for thousands of parents, from throughout the country and all levels of the population. In addition, this would be an immediate solution allowing every DCC to absorb more children and increase the capacity in the existing DCC's.
Dr. Naomi Moreno, Director of the Early Age Division raised a number of important points involving the salaries of the metaplot in the DCC's and the nurturing of the educational staff. In response to the Minister she explained the importance of conformity in training metaplot and respectable pay scales, in order to ensure the absorption of quality personnel who are suited to the work and remain in the profession. 'Today, the situation leads to continual change overs amongst metaplot in the DCC's and the children suffer.'
The Minister replied: The subject of the salaries of the metaplot especially pains me. They are loyal and doing important work. It is important that we find solutions that enable us to raise their salaries. I will gather all the involved factors in order to look for possible solutions to strengthen the staff in the Day Care Centers which are under supervision and to provide suitable remuneration for the metaplot who are so important to all of us'.
The visit was very successful and the Minister thanked the education staff for their contribution to the education of children in Israel.