The first day of school is here and 2,191,004 pupils – among them 157,477 first graders — will file into 68,271 classrooms around the country today. Joining them on the first day of school are 166,208 educators.

While summer holidays just ended, the back-to-school transition is easy, as within two weeks Israeli students will again enjoy a break to celebrate the Jewish high holidays.

Back to School figures by ISRAEL21c

On Sunday, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, former President Shimon Peres and leaders of Israeli high-tech companies launched a national education plan to double the number of students learning at the highest level of mathematics to 18,000 within four years.

“The national mathematics program will also strengthen the child’s future and help the future of the State of Israel,” Bennett told a press conference.

“We must not accept a situation in Israel in which children who want to learn five-point mathematics in schools are prevented because of lack of means,” said Peres. “A financial deficit can be fixed later but an educational deficit is irreparable.”

Peres spoke about the need for investing in Israeli students in order to ensure the country’s ability to compete in the global market.

“Professions in science and technology are based on mathematics, and therefore, promoting academics and scientific excellence are an existential necessity and a primary interest to the future of Israel,” said Peres.

Peres is reliving his high school days in a cute commercial for the Education Ministry’s national education plan. The commercial is in Hebrew and shows Peres throwing a paper airplane at the teacher with a math solution written inside. The lesson: All students who are given a chance can succeed at top-level mathematics.