Visit of the Chinese Delegation to The MOFET Institute

On October 16, 2012, a delegation from China visited The MOFET Institute. The delegates are academics affiliated with a research institute that investigates education, namely, The National Institute of Education Sciences of China, where they teach and conduct research in a range of educational fields. The delegation was visiting Israel and other countries for the purpose of learning everything possible from the experience of education systems that differ from the Chinese education system. Israel was selected as an appropriate destination not only because China admires its scientific and technological achievements, but also perhaps because it is slightly envious of the small country that has produced an impressive number of Nobel laureates.
chinese delegation  

The MOFET Institute was one of the delegation’s first stops during its visit to Israel, and the program of the visit was devised in conjunction with Mr. Xue Hualing – Education Attaché and Director of the Education Department at the Chinese Embassy in Israel – and tailored to his requests.
Dr. Michal Golan launched the visit and presented in brief the rationale underlying the establishment of MOFET as well as its arenas of activity. Subsequently, several of the Institute’s channels of activity were introduced, as follows:
  • Mr. Ami Salant and Ms Penny Barsimantov presented the work of the Information Center as well as the process of making cutting-edge information accessible to the teacher educators.
  • Dr. Ainat Guberman presented the Research Authority and its main directions of activity, namely: promoting research in the fields of teacher education and teaching, encouraging teacher educators to conduct research, and expanding the knowledge about teaching and teacher education.
  • Mr. Jay Hurvit’s contribution to the encounter was the topic of technology and its integration into the school – a topic that is crucial both to the entire education system and of course to the specialization studies offered at The MOFET Institute.
At the behest of the guests, the issue of the attitude toward higher education was also included in the program.  Prof. Miriam Ben-Peretz posed several questions that could serve as a platform for a joint discussion: For whom is higher education intended, and what are its objectives (creating knowledge, sharing knowledge, contributing to the quality of life, preparing individuals for a profession)? What is the appropriate structure for higher education (sequential, modular)? Who are the teachers that are suitable to teach in higher education (only professors, or perhaps also authors and artists)? Should higher education target communities or individuals?
When Prof. Rami Yogav related to teacher education in Israel, he did not attempt to conceal the dilemmas facing the Israeli education system: the shortage of teachers, the lack of success in the PISA exams, and the quest for ways that suit us (should we try to emulate Finland or not?). 

The guests were also eager to deal with the topic of creativity and the development of creative thinking. To this end, Ms Keren Shemer from the SIT Company was invited, and in the limited time at her disposal, attempted to demonstrate tools for the development of creative thinking “inside the box” and not just outside it.

The guests also shared a little information about what is happening in China. They recounted that China is now stressing the quality of teaching and teacher education. The teachers in China are obliged to pass exams every four years, and any teacher who does not pass is not permitted to continue working. Every five years, the teacher has to participate in in-service courses. The standard of these courses is unsatisfactory, and this is one of the things that they are now keen to improve. They would be happy to receive MOFET’s assistance in this matter.

Right at the beginning of the encounter, it was clear that intensive translation from Hebrew into Mandarin was mandatory. This required a great deal of forbearance and flexibility on the part of both presenters and listeners. Despite the language difficulties, the visit was characterized by and summed up with a desire to form a cooperative venture between The MOFET Institute and The National Institute of Education Sciences of China.