The Story of the 5x2 Initiative


The Story of the 5x2 Initiative

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The 5x2 Initiative applied, for the first time In Israel, the Collective Impact model. The 5x2 Initiative was implemented through an extended process of creating a network of partners of leading organizations from the public sector, the private sector, philanthropic foundations, and education NGOs (non-governmental organizations); in order to promote excellence in STEM education and build a unique partnership with the Israeli Ministry of Education.

The 5x2 Initiative achieved its goals successfully by creating public awareness of the issue of excellence in STEM education, but also by realizing one of its main tasks sooner than expected: the number of students studying high school mathematics on an advanced level. Known as “five units” in Israel, this advanced mathematics track doubled within four years, significantly in advance of the initial time frame posed by the 5x2 Initiative (see figure 1). In addition, the key partners share the feeling that this is a significant success. Partners note the extent to which their participation in the 5x2 Initiative was meaningful to them and to the future of the relationships between organizations participating in the network. 

In this paper, we examine the conditions that made this initiative so successful, and the reasons for the development of an unlikely partnership  by narrating the story of the 5x2 Initiative and the systemic change it created. 

The first part of the paper recounts the story of the 5x2 Initiative, from its inception until today. It reviews significant moments and junctures of decision making, and emphasizes the process bywhich the relationship between the partners came to be. It will discuss the creation of a cross-sector environment that made these relationships possible, and the changes of discourse regarding excellence in education it brought about. The second part of the paper is dedicated to the future directions of the 5x2 Initiative and to the dilemmas and challenges it is currently facing. 

The analysis is based on material created and collected since the inception of the 5x2 Initiative in 2013 and in-depth interviews that were conducted in 2017 with twelve leading partners in the 5x2 Initiative. Among them, two were from the private sector, four from the public sector, four from education NGOs, one from the philanthropy, and one from academia .

It is our hope that this paper and the insights it puts forward will be useful not only to actors operating within the field of STEM education in Israel, but also to organizations in other fields that would like to learn about this unique model of crosssector collaboration, that inspired the inception and application of the 5x2 Initiative.

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