Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett were teachers for a day in a first-grade classroom in northern Israel, where they also took questions from the young students. The Education Ministry plans to launch a reform in English studies.

Photo credit: Avi Ohayon, GPO/Channel 2 News

Over two million Israeli students began the new school year Friday morning, of whom 163,000 were first-graders. The Education Ministry said the new year opened as planned, with no unusual incidents apart from minor issues in specific locations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the newly-established elementary school in the city of Harish. “This country is your home,” he told the excited students.

The ministry plans to launch a number of new reforms for the upcoming year, most notably in the studies of English. Education Minister Naftali Bennett revealed earlier this week his ministry’s plan to promote the learning of practical spoken English rather than the memorization of grammatical rules.

“I want to raise a generation of kids who are able to carry a conversation in English,” Bennett said. “In today’s global world, this is crucially important for the future of our children.”

Photo credit: Channel 2 News

Another change made this year is the launch of subsidized daycare centers for kindergarten, first-grade and second-grade students.