The initial results from an annual report of the Taub Center for Social Policy in Israel show that in the last decade 39 percent of Israeli schoolchildren learned in either hareidi-religious or Arab schools. The number of schoolchildren increased in the general sector by 10 percent, while the number of schoolchildren in the hareidi-religious sector jumped by 51 percent. In contrast, the number of schoolchildren in national-religious schools only increased by 8 percent.
In the 2009 school year, 48 percent of schoolchildren learn in hareidi-religious or Arab schools, as compared with 39 percent in 2000. The rest of the 52 percent of schoolchildren are either registered in state schools or religious state schools. That number is dropping, while a 51 percent rise in the hareidi-religious educational stream since 2000 has emerged.
In light of the drastic change in Israeli demographics, the Taub Center has concluded that it is most vital that the government set in motion a pedagogical program that will be given to the majority of its schoolchildren for the next generation. The Taub Center questioned whether those students are receiving basic skills to work in modern industry and to live in a developing nation.
However, Prof. Dan Ben-David, the director of the Taub Center, claims that the schoolchildren aren’t receiving basic skills. “In comparison to 25 countries of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) who participated in the PISA 2006 tests, which focused on some of the most important subjects – mathematics, science, and reading – the average achievements in a Jewish population excluding the hareidi sector are on the bottom of the list. The level of achievement of the Arab-Israelis was even worse.”
The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a worldwide test produced by the OECD, which tests 15-year-old students’ scholastic performance.
Prof. Ben-David added that if the Israeli educational system ignores the changing demographic patterns, its schoolchildren will not be sufficiently prepared to join the workforce.