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  • ACRI

Provide additional leniency to Kiryat Shmona students during final exams

On April 7, 2024, we sent legal correspondence (Hebrew) to the Ministry of Education on behalf of members of student councils and parents from Kiryat Shmona. We demanded that the final exam schedule of the evacuated northern students, and Kiryat Shmona students in particular, parallel the schedule of students evacuated following October 7th from communities near the Gaza Strip.

Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from northern Israel, including thousands of students. The residents of Kiryat Shmona were evacuated from their city without any organized evacuation plan, and are now scattered in about 500 different communities – in hotels, rented apartments, relatives' homes, and some of them wander between different housing frameworks. The students are scattered in 110 different institutions and educational frameworks. Many of them only started studying at the end of 2023 and in the first months of 2024 – some in shifts and only part-time, and they also suffer from a huge shortage of professional teachers to prepare for final exams. These difficulties were compounded by the difficult emotional state of the students.

The Ministry of Education published various outlines for easing final exams in different localities, depending on the extent to which students were affected by the war. The latest outline states that students from Ofakim, Netivot, Sderot, Shaar Hanegev Council, Ashkelon Beach Council, Eshkol Council and Sdot Negev Council will receive "the most appropriate response so that they will not be harmed." In practice, students from these localities, and at least students from Sderot and the Eshkol and Negev regional councils, and apparently even students from Yad Mordechai's school studying on the Ashkelon coast, will take internal exams. Students in the north, and Kiryat Shmona in particular, are not included in this framework.

In our letter to the Minister and the Ministry of Education, Attorney Tal Hassin argued that the exclusion of students from the evacuated northern communities, and Kiryat Shmona students in particular, from this last outline has no justification, and that it severely violates their rights and sabotages their future. She argued that the Ministry's separation between localities and authorities where active war took place and students of Kiryat Shmona and the evacuated northern communities is arbitrary and severely unreasonable: "Both suffered missiles and were uprooted from their homes," the letter said, "both populations suffer from anxiety and trauma, both populations have accumulated enormous learning gaps that can no longer be narrowed before matriculation begins... Any attempt to anchor a distinction on the basis of the amount of pain and suffering – which is shared by all evacuated students – is unacceptable; And there is no educational justification for the variance in the concessions granted to them, which is carried out in a mortal violation of the right of the students of Kiryat Shmona and the entire evacuated north to education, equal opportunities in education and dignity – constitutional rights in Israeli law."




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