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Education in Israel Combines the Formal, Informal

Dave Wilson

Here’s the first installment of our ongoing report on the educational innovations currently on display in Israel.

When you think of Israel, does a constantly evolving and cutting-edge educational system, often bred and cultivated at the grass-roots level (yet regulated as stridently as those in the U.S.) come to mind?

Well, it should. The cutting-edge elements of Israel’s educational system are indeed worthy of a few glances if you ever get the chance to investigate.

Eyal Ram, Israel’s director of Educational Workers Administration, Ministry of Education, sat down with a few select international educational influencers recently to discuss the country’s 4,200 schools, comprised of 2 million students.

“We combine the formal and the informal, in a chaotic way,” Eyal said of the overarching Israeli educational philosophy, which includes traditional subjects like chemistry, civics, and grammar put forth in school models that take more cues from looser-run startup companies than from strict traditional formats. “The culture of entrepreneurship is stronger than the rules,” Eyal said, noting that educational evolutions like project-based learning and an emphasis on higher-tech innovations are strongly supported.

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Lest readers think that traditional school formalities like grades and curriculum are not in play in Israeli schools, Eyal did say, “We do have a lot of standards, and a lot of tests, all taking place in a very centralized educational system.”

Does your local school district deviate from more-regimented methods of classroom management, and does it take cues from entrepreneurial startup companies? Let us know in the comments section below.

We’ll be posting updates from Israel as the next two weeks progress, so keep coming back to Special thanks to the gracious folks at Vibe Israel for setting up our tour based around Israeli educational developments!