In 2020, during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, Netzach recognized the opportunity presented by the introduction of laptops and internet connections into many Charedi households. Working in collaboration with Telem – Israel’s National Infrastructure Forum for Research & Development – Mrs. Racheli Ibenboim (a Chassidic social entrepreneur working for Telem) was appointed to lead a team to build a virtual school for students wanting to learn core curriculum subjects. Within a few months, they created an online curriculum in line with Charedi values, and they continued to develop and add more courses and learning tools.
Students complete the modules at their own pace, often in the evenings and during yeshiva vacations. They learn English, math, geometry, algebra and physics, with hybrid lessons, regular tests, and support from mentors to keep them motivated to complete their courses.
80% of our online students are young men (18 – 25) who learn in Yeshivot and have had no secular education. Within Eshkolot, as in all the Netzach schools, all course content is customized to take account of Charedi cultural sensitivities. It is also adjusted to suit the style of learning that yeshiva students are used to. The virtual school provides them with a cloak of anonymity, allowing them to learn English and fill other gaps in their knowledge without leaving their communities. The number of students enrolling is increasing every month.
Two years after opening, Netzach’s Virtual School has added an online Mechina track that allows Charedi students to take the tests necessary to enter higher education institutions in Israel. In this
user-friendly and socially comfortable environment, they can study for the compulsory AMIRAM and MEIMAD academic English tests.