Hebrew back at Glen Eira College

February 27, 2019 by David Marlow
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The United Jewish Education Board (UJEB) and Glen Eira College (GEC) have announced that the teaching of Hebrew will resume at GEC in 2020.

Itzik Sztokman, UJEB Executive Principal, Sheereen Kindler, Glen Eira College Principal and David Southwick MP, Member for Caulfield.

GEC has been the only Victorian Government school offering Hebrew language studies within the curriculum since 2012 but their decision to stop teaching Hebrew in 2019 led to great community angst.  The school principal and president said they had to cut the subject due to staffing issues.

The campaign by school parent Jonny Schauder to see Hebrew return to the College has clearly been successful in causing a rethink.

UJEB Principal Itzik Sztokman said:  “Over the past few months, UJEB met with the college and other stakeholders to work towards a solution. The very positive outcome of these discussions is that in 2020, Hebrew will again be offered as an elective in Year 7, subject to staffing and enrolments. As this cohort progresses, the subject will grow to include other year levels.”

GEC Principal Sheereen Kindler said that “UJEB is working in partnership with the College to meet the needs of the community and to support families who want to access the Hebrew language in a public school. I really am delighted to have UJEB’s support in staffing and curriculum development moving forward.” 

Member for Caulfield, David Southwick, is also supportive. “With a growing number of Jewish students attending Glen Eira College, it’s important to develop a strong Hebrew program to provide real choice for our students at public schools … UJEB’s role going forward will ensure our community will have a quality program, that will complement other cultural activities at the school, to help students flourish,” he said. 

To ensure that current GEC students don’t miss out, UJEB is commencing a new after-school program covering Israeli language and culture in term 2, 2019. This will include basic Hebrew and popular teenage topics such as food and music. It will complement the longstanding weekly J-Lunch sessions at the school. 

Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) President Jennifer Huppert welcomed the decision, stating “The JCCV is delighted that UJEB and Glen Eira College (GEC) have been able to work together so that Hebrew language studies will be offered to students attending GEC in 2020.  UJEB plays an important role in ensuring that the many Jewish students attending public schools have access to Hebrew language programs as well as other cultural activities.”

GEC will be running a Languages Open Day on 30 April and an Open Night on 1 May 2019. UJEB Principal Itzik Sztokman will be on hand at both of these events to talk with parents.

 Mr Schauder says he is happy with the result.  He stated, “I’m very supportive of the quite miraculous turnaround and even more supportive of the fact that UJEB, which is the official State School Education guardianship body; which represents the Jewish Community in Education is likely to be enshrined as the custodian of the refreshed program.”

“It is the right outcome given the School clearly did not have the capability to manage the Hebrew program without support. And the Secondary School program completes the UJEB model allowing kids to transition from their Primary Hebrew immersion programs into the GEC Secondary school subject. “

“I thank and trust UJEB Principal, Itzik Stockman who will lead the Hebrew program at Glen Eira College into a wonderful future. I’m also very appreciative that David Southwick seems to have played a key role in facilitating the outcome. “

“I am of course still very sceptical and dismayed about the original decision to axe Hebrew, and in the manner it was made. So I will continue to optimistically but critically keep an eye on progress. There are still too many conditions still in the press release to ease my worries against potential regress.”I remain heartbroken for the kids that will miss out because of this unforeseen hiatus. Around 60-70 kids that were enrolled for 2019 have missed out. Yes, they may be able to access an after-school service, but that simply doesn’t replace in school, assessed learning.”


One Response to “Hebrew back at Glen Eira College”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    Finding a teacher(s) is the issue.

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