At a general meeting this Tuesday, four years after the Mechinat Bnei Zion disaster in Tzafit Gully, the Joint Council of Mechinot and all mechina heads decided that as of next academic year, each mechina will be evaluated for a basic or advanced safety standard certification. Third-party inspectors will assess safety and preparedness at each mechina, both on site and in off-site activities.
Safety, professionalism, and transparency
Certifications, to be renewed annually, will be published by the Joint Council and the mechinot so parents can see how safe each mechina is.
The project is another step toward greater safety, professionalism, and transparency in the mechina world, building on top of the introduction of CEO directives, a situation room, and safety training given to all mechina staff since the summer of 2018. The new certifications are another important development in the Joint Council’s work to overhaul safety at the mechinot.
After the Mechinat Bnei Zion disaster, the Joint Council immediately appointed a committee of inquiry, introduced a series of new safety training requirements and accreditations, and installed a national field safety director. The Joint Council, a private organization, has funded all of these project using donations and funding from the mechinot, with no public money.
“I believe and hope that the safety standard will serve as a lodestar of safety and professionalism in informal education and that the mechinot will attain excellence in all areas of safety”—Joint Council CEO Dani Zamir
Joint Council CEO Dani Zamir said: “The Mechinat Bnei Zion disaster in Tzafit Gully wasn’t just a terrible and grave disaster. It was also a crossroads that compelled us to undergo a cultural and organizational change. The safety standard that we just added to everything else we’ve done since the disaster is part of a process that needs to continue constantly, of setting clear, consistent standards that allow the mechinot to learn from each other’s experience and to situate all the mechinot on an elementary safety footing as they safely go about a mechina routine and field activities. I believe and hope that the safety standard will serve as a lodestar of safety and professionalism in informal education and that the mechinot will attain excellence in all areas of safety, which to my mind is the only correct response to the disaster that happened.”