Disparities in Education of Jews, Arabs
The Central Bureau of Statistics reported July 26, 1999, that while the situation and conditions of education in Israel are similar to other Western countries, gaps exist in the teaching, education levels, the provision of education services and household expenditure on education between Jews and Arabs.
Between 1990-96, the number of children (both boys and girls) aged 14-17 in school rose among all sectors, with the most significant rise among Arab girls -- from 58.9% to 12.2%. The percentage of Jewish girls aged 14-17 rose from 95.7 to 99.8% over the same period. In contrast, the of Jewish and Arab boys aged 14-17 rose from 85.5% to 93.4% and from 66.4% to 67.5% respectively.
The percentage of Jews with 13 years or more education rose from 28.2% to 37.3%, while among other religions the percentage rose from 9.1% to 15.7%. The percentage of Jews aged 18-29 continued to university rose slightly from 6.3% in 1990 to 7.5% in 1996, while the percentage continuing to graduate education rose from 1.2% to 1.7% and going for Ph.D.s (aged 25-54) rose from 0.25% to 0.33% over the same period. The percentage of Arabs studying for BAs rose from 1.6% to 1.9%, while the percentage studying for MAs and Ph.D.s declined slightly from 0.23 to 0.22% and 00.4 to 00.3% respectively over the same period.
Beyond free education services provided by the government, the consumption of education services by Jewish households was greater than for Arabs, despite the relatively lower number of children in Jewish households. These costs include private tutoring, purchase of books and educational aids. In 1997, average monthly house-hold expenditure on education services was NIS 441 for Jews and NIS 200 for Arabs.
Budgets for education in the sectors also were different, with Arab classrooms being, on average, larger and with fewer hours of teaching at all levels. The gaps have been closing, especially at the secondary school level, mainly due to an increase in weekly class hours in the Arab sector from 47.3 hours in 1990 to 53.9 hours in 1996, while average weekly class hours in the Jewish sector remained stable at 58.3 hours. Also, Arab secondary school classes were reduced from 16.5 to 13.9, while Jewish classes remained stable, declined only from 11.6 to 11.3 pupils per teacher. The level of teachers also rose more significantly in the Arab than the Jewish sector, with 71% of Arab secondary school teachers possessing academic degrees compared to 66.4% of their Jewish counterparts.
Source: Israeli Government Press Office (July 27, 1999)