Monday 12 August was International Youth Day. This year, International Youth Day dealt with the role of education as a moulding power that generates change and it aimed to emphasize the need to enhance the quality of education and make it comprehensive, accessible and equal for all.
The Office of the State Comptroller examined several aspects of the State's handling of young persons in Annual Report 69B that was published in May 2019 (in Hebrew): Aspects of the State's handling of sex offences against minors; Absence of teaching staff and the employment of substitute teachers; The activity of youth villages; Aspects of the State's handling of addictions.
The Office of the Ombudsman receives annually numerous complaints relating to youth rights in many aspects of education, such as the removal of pupils from school, discrimination in registration, acceptance and allocation to schools, payments required from parents and others. Complaints are frequently filed with the Office by the young people themselves, which testifies to the maturity of the youth of Israel who know how to stand up independently for their rights against the different authorities. The following are a few examples of complaints handled by the Office of the Ombudsman:
Rectification of mistaken grades in the matriculation certificate
A graduate of the education system was surprised to discover that his matriculation certificate contained mistaken grades, lowering the overall average of his grades. The matriculation coordinator in his school claimed for over half a year that his enquiries made to the Ministry of Education had not been answered. Even the direct inquiry made by the youth to the Ministry of Education had been futile. The youth filed a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman. The Office made inquiries with the Ministry of Education - the grades of the youth were corrected and he was issued a new, rectified matriculation certificate.
Cancellation of annual school trip due to the failure of some of the parents to pay
A 12th grade pupil of a high school in the centre of Israel filed a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman about her school. According to the complainant, her school had notified the pupils that since many parents had not paid school fees for the entire school year, the pupils of classes in which there was not a minimal number of children whose parents had paid all the fees, would not be able to go on the annual school trip. In her complaint, the pupil wrote - "We have turned to you after seeing and reading that according to the directives of the Ministry of Education, it is forbidden to prevent pupils whose parents have not paid from participating in activities. We sincerely hope that you will help 12th grade to go on the last school trip, which is due to take place in a fortnight!". The Office of the Ombudsman wrote to the Ministry of Education on the matter and with the assistance of the supervisor, the issue was resolved with the school and the complainant and her classmates were able to go on the annual school trip.
Right of a special education pupil to independence on transportation
Even complaints that are not filed with the Office of the Ombudsman by young people frequently directly concern the rights of the young people to independence and personal development. Thus, for example, a complaint was filed concerning a pupil in special education who was eligible for transportation to school in accordance with the Special Education Law. Close to the filing of the complaint, a change was made to the directives of the Ministry of Education obligating the local authority to make sure that an adult accompanied the pupil to ensure that she got on and off the bus. The pupil's father wrote to the Office of the Ombudsman that he and his daughter had reached the decision that she was mature and responsible enough to get on and off the bus by herself. According to him, the decision not to allow her to get on and off the bus independently "would harm her self-confidence and her feeling of value", since she was independent in all matters. Following the Office's investigation with the Ministry of Education, the directives were reviewed and changed in such a manner as to enable the pupil, despite her being a special-education pupil, to be independent on the ride to and from school, without the need to be accompanied.