TGI Thursday: Israeli schools may soon scrap their six-day week for a Sunday-through-Thursday schedule, the Jerusalem Post reports. School officials argue that extended hours on fewer weekdays would be easier on students with long commutes and give Orthodox Jewish pupils, who have religious obligations on Saturdays, additional leisure time. Charles E. Smith High School of the Arts in Jerusalem, one of a handful of schools that have already adopted a shorter academic week, allows students and teachers to use the library and study rooms and participate in extracurricular activities on Fridays. "The informal learning that happens here on Fridays is a blessing," says principal Danny Bar-Giora. "If it were up to me, and I was brave enough, I would even go down to four days."
Direct Line: British Columbia's public school educators are feeling vulnerable to accusations of misconduct following recent changes in the province's Teaching Profession Act, the Globe and Mail reports. Under the new legislation, any provincial resident can register a formal complaint against a teacher directly with the College of Teachers, the government agency responsible for teacher certification. Previously, citizens had to attempt to resolve their problems with educators and principals before taking their concerns to a higher level.
Together Again: Eight years after the civil war that pitted Croats, Serbs, and Muslims against each other, Bosnian schools are finally desegregating, reports the Agence France-Presse. Throughout the period of rigid segregation that began during the war, children of different ethnicities attended the same schools but entered through separate doorways and had classes on different floors to prevent mixing. Each group also followed an individual curriculum and used its own textbooks. Last fall, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a post-conflict rehabilitation group, introduced an education reform plan for Bosnia featuring a common core curriculum and shared classrooms. Pupils are welcoming the changes being implemented this fall. "The war was not our fault," says student Sakib Besic. "We should move forward."
Chemistry Lesson: Teaching may be a labor of love, but it doesn't leave much time for a love life. So observes Scotland on Sunday, which reports that teachers are the most frequent users of the Dateline Agency, a Scottish dating service. One in every 30 singles hoping to make a match through Dateline is a teacher. What's more, the Times Educational Supplement, a weekly for teachers in Scotland and the United Kingdom, is launching a new telephone dating service for teachers seeking teachers. Relationship experts say such services can help lonely educators. "It gives a real point of contact—and they have similar hours and holidays," observes counselor Christine Northam.
Vol. 15, Issue 3, Page 13Published in Print: November 1, 2003, as Dispatches