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President Rivlin addresses international conference of OECD Education Ministers Photo by Mark Neiman (GPO)
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President Rivlin addresses international conference of OECD Education Ministers

26 September 2016

President Rivlin addresses international conference of OECD Education Ministers held for the first time in Israel, entitled “Educating Innovation and Innovation in Education”

(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)


President Reuven Rivlin today (Monday) addressed an international conference held for the first time in Israel, of OECD country education ministers and senior officials and entitled “Educating Innovation and Innovation in Education”. Also addressing the conference was Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett MK, OECD Director for Education and Skills Andreas Schleicher, and representative of the European Commission Martin Reichert, while the conference included the participation of around 30 senior delegations from education ministries from across the world including from Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand and others.


“In a changing world with an unpredictable job market and amazing technology, there is one thing that doesn’t change: our need for human connection, for partners, our ability to learn from others and improve ourselves with their help,” began the President in his address. He continued to stress “That is why being part of the OECD is so important to the State of Israel. It helps us examine ourselves, compare our teachers' skills and salaries, our national spending on education, literacy and math levels, and to work harder where needed. We have things to improve, but we also have reasons to be proud. Israel has the highest number of tertiary education in the OECD countries, and is the third most educated country in terms of high school and higher education graduates.”


The President continues, “During 2016 the OECD published its yearly report on education. The report discuses globalization, the future of the nation state, and our education systems. We all ask ourselves about the influences of the global world on local and global identities, and what are the social skills needed for the future, along with questions about values and civic education. Are there values that all the citizens of the country can agree upon? And what is the responsibility of the education system in relation to these questions? As the President of the State of Israel, and as a grandfather, I ask myself these questions.” The President stressed, “The answer - as we see it in the Office of the President - is what we call ‘Education for Partnership’. We need to increase a sense of positive identity - which is important for each community - and at the same time insist on teaching understanding about the different people and groups living here. We need to provide skills to debate, yet respect different outlooks. We need to create bridges and bonds between the different groups in the country. And finally, we need to train the teachers to be partnership leaders. That is the way to raise our children to be good citizens in the societies of tomorrow.”


Education Minister Bennett MK said, “Ladies and gentlemen, a big storm has descended upon the Middle East, and it's expanding to the rest of the world. Nations – not far from here – have fallen apart; tribes are re-emerging; new forms of terror show their ugly faces almost every week; just hours away from here, in Syria there is a terrible civil war. In the epicenter of this big storm, there stands a lighthouse. Israel is a lighthouse in the storm. Surrounded by ISIS, Hezbollah, Hamas and Al-Qaeda on our borders, our small-sized, but big-hearted country is a beacon of doing good. We do good by generating water in the deserts across Africa. We do good multiplying cucumber and tomato growth tenfold in India. We do good by saving millions of lives with our medical stents. We do good by securing the 70% of Internet banking transactions against Cyber fraudsters. We do good by treating our Arab minority with dignity and respect. We do good by keeping our heads up in this very difficult region. We do good, because that's our mission, that's our destiny. In Hebrew it's called 'Tikun Olam', fixing the world. We've been here, in the land of Israel, for the past 3800 years doing good for the world, and we will continue.”


He continued, “My friends, in this room we have the world's real security council – the education security council. The leaders in this room have the power to transform the world. To make people more tolerant, more mindful, more creative and to provide a real opportunity for the children of the world.”