This week WIZO proudly announced a very impactful achievement. After a four-year struggle with the Ministry of Education, the new Ofek Chadash (New Horizons) reform will be applied to special education students in recognized and unofficial institutions, including students from WIZO schools, starting this school year. As part of the reform, the students will be granted additional hours of study, improved learning spaces and teachers' working environment, and an expanded presence of teams of teachers and caregivers, in order to advance them and help them make significant achievements.
The Ministry of Education's announcement comes as a result of the struggle that WIZO led, which included an appeal to the High Court of Justice, on the matter of discrimination against special needs students. The Ministry of education announced that the reform would be implemented in the school year 2019-20.
Approximately 9,500 special education students study in 147 schools, representing 37% of the total special education students in Israel. They will all benefit from WIZO's efforts and will get the same conditions as all students in Israel.
WIZO operates two special education schools: The WIZO Secondary Vocational School in Beit Hakerem, Jerusalem and WIZO Ahuzat Yeladim Boarding School & Residential Home, in Haifa.
"WIZO has achieved an unprecedented achievement in favor of students with special needs," said Dr. Michal Rotem, Director of Education at WIZO, who led the struggle to prevent discrimination against special education students.
"In WIZO we believe in equal opportunities in education for all children and students, regardless of their religion, background or abilities. The success of the struggle led by WIZO to include the Ofek Chadash (New Horizon) reform for all special education students is a historical achievement," said Prof. Rivka Lazovsky, Chairperson of World WIZO. "We welcome the ministry's decision to rectify the injustice that will improve the situation of special needs students and their chance of integration into society."