A meeting with the director-general of the Ministry of Education, Michal Cohen, was held as part of MGU's "Meetings with Policy-Makers" series: a unique learning model in which the Mandel Graduate Unit creates space, time and place for formal and informal conversation, for serious discussion and for philosophical exploration among and between graduates, policy-makers and agenda setters - key figures with influence over public discourse and over the professional arenas in which the graduates operate. This unique model provides a platform for collaborative thinking, for constructing unique Mandelian language, for promoting cooperation between graduates and for positioning them as change agents who can influence public discourse and policy-makers.
Moshe Vigdor, the director-general of the Mandel Foundation - Israel, delivered an opening address in which he noted the longstanding partnership between the Ministry of Education and the Mandel Foundation. Prof. David Dery, faculty member of the Mandel Graduate Unit, spoke about the connection between ideas and policy. And Dr. Granit Almog-Bareket, director of the Mandel Graduate Unit, described the roles of Mandel graduates as leaders and change-makers in the field of education.
In her speech, Ms. Cohen spoke about the main issues on the agenda of the Ministry of Education: improving academic achievements; narrowing gaps; and special populations. She reviewed the goals for the next few years, and relating to academic outcomes noted that "the primary goal is to promote meaningful and quality learning that leads to academic achievement, to self-actualization and to excellence." She emphasized the importance of developing learner performance suitable for the 21st century; of promoting science education, technological education and professional education, in particular mathematics; and of continuing to align teaching, curricula, learning environments, evaluation and measurement with meaningful learning. She also mentioned other goals, including: values-oriented goals; increasing equal opportunities; and promoting an effective organizational management culture in the education system.
As part of the meeting, five graduates of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership presented their new projects and ideas and received responses from other graduates at the meeting, as well as from Michal Cohen and from Prof. David Dery:
Arik Mandelbaum, graduate of MSEL cohort 22, presented his ideas for an "Individual Plan for Every Student," which he is currently pursuing in the school he founded in Atlit.
Ilan Hadas, graduate of MSEL cohort 4, spoke about his vision for creating an "Individual Road Map" for every student, emphasizing students' strengths, and sowing "magic seeds" which will help them throughout their lives.
Tali Asher, graduate of MSEL cohort 21, argued for taking literature out of literature classes and moving it into the public realm, in order to change how people think - especially young people.
Chezie Sagiv, graduate of MSEL cohort 9, demonstrated how the culture of the Israel Air Force, based on conducting detailed reviews and preserving knowledge, could easily be implemented in the education system.
Eran El-Bar, graduate of MSEL cohort 12, showed how his MSEL project on "friendship," which emphasizes teaching musicianship and Hebrew poetry, can create meaningful learning, promote teamwork, improve the school atmosphere and more.
In the final section of the evening, there was an open discussion in which the participants presented different topics, to which Ms. Cohen responded.