Last Chance for the Right to Education
The HILA program serves as an educational and emotional resource for around 8,000 youth rejected from traditional educational systems and those living in institutions or jails. It is their last chance to complete their educational requirements, and even receive a graduation diploma. Recently, the Ministry of Education said that due to lack of funding, the program will be discontinued this coming school year.
The consequences of this decision can be foreseen from what we learned from the students participating in the program, and their parents. For example, L told us: “I was rejected from the school I was in. They didn’t understand my needs, and I was having a really hard time. I thought something was wrong with me. The teachers at Hila knew what support I needed and how to offer it. If the program closes down I don’t think I will be able to cope.” L’s mother added: “If the program discontinues, she will have no other option for finishing high school. She has emotional difficulties and no regular school anywhere will accept her at this point, nobody wants students like her. When we sent her to Hila, she blossomed for the first time. Finally, she was able to study, someone finally believed that she could. Now she’s scared that she will have nowhere else to go.”
On 18.8.2020, we appealed to the Minister of Finance, Minister of Education, and the superiors of their offices on behalf of the teenage participants of Hila, its parent committee, and the national parent leadership. The appeal was submitted in partnership with the Children and Youth Rights Clinic at Hebrew University and the Clinic for Law and Educational Policy at Haifa University. Attorneys Tal Hassin, Dr. Shiraz Reichenberg and Haran Reichman wrote that the discontinuation of Hila will negatively impact the rights of thousands of teenagers for education, respect and equality - the fulfillment of which is placed on the government.