Israel will pay for every child’s school supply purchased in schools across the country, in a move that the education ministry hopes will ease shortages in classrooms.
In a news release issued Tuesday, the ministry said it is working on a “national initiative” to pay each child for every school book and booklet.
The initiative will involve schools offering free books and supplies, along with a subsidy to parents, to help offset costs for schools that can’t purchase the books or the supplies.
The plan also aims to help schools with a shortage of books and other supplies, as well as the distribution of them to parents.
“We are looking for all children who can help us reach this goal, whether they are a single child or several, and who are willing to help us in order to help solve this issue,” said education minister Moshe Ya’alon in the statement.
“The government will give these children vouchers to purchase books, school supplies and other school supplies.”
Israel is among the world’s largest exporters of books, with the United States, Australia and France all offering vouchers to children for purchases in their own schools.
In January, a report from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) found that in 2014-15, 1.6 million children under the age of five were not able to read or write in Hebrew.
That number is expected to rise to 1.8 million children in the next few years.
Israel is the largest importer of textbooks in the world, accounting for nearly half of the global market.
The education ministry announced that it will be issuing vouchers to each child in schools who wants to purchase a book.
The ministry will issue each voucher for two schoolbooks, with one being for school use and the other for private use.
“This initiative is in keeping with our commitment to help children learn,” Ya’lon said in the release.
“We will be transparent with all the children in our system, and we will do this in a manner that is as transparent as possible, in order for the children to understand what is going on.”
In February, the education department announced that the ministry will set up a national initiative to raise the purchasing price of school supplies in schools.
It is expected that the initiative will cost Israel up to $2.4 billion.
The ministry said in January that the new initiative would be focused on the supply of books for students in special schools.
The new plan comes after Israel launched an effort in January to raise supplies of textbooks, supplies of supplies for children and equipment for teachers, as part of a $1 billion effort to combat the country’s chronic shortage of school books and bookshelves.
Israel last year set a goal of reducing its reliance on foreign textbooks, with most foreign-language textbooks costing between $10 and $20 per student, according to UNESCO.