A recent announcement by Israel’s Ministry of Education said that hareidim who turn to academia will be eligible for stipends if they prove that they studied in schools with separate classes for boys and girls.
In light of this announcement, Arutz Sheva’s daily journal spoke on Tuesday with Shai Cohen, director of the Hakima psychometric prep institute for hareidim which itself provides separate classrooms. According to Cohen, the guideline set out by the Ministry is a logical one which will also result in better classroom achievements.
“If students study in separate classrooms they without a doubt achieve better results,” said Cohen, and added that a student who has achieved a score of 600 in the psychometric exam would be able to raise his score to 670 points in a mixed school, but would be able to achieve an additional 20 points in a school with separate classrooms.
According to Cohen, there is a logical explanation for this. “A young man during his adolescent years, when he is around the opposite sex, he feels the need to impress and does not give his full attention to studying. He does not listen. He has a lot of distractions. When we eliminate these distractions he can focus on learning.”
Cohen pointed out a recent recommendation by the Ministry of Education to all high schools that some subjects should be studied in separate schools. According to him, the main reason that this recommendation is not implemented is due to budgetary reasons. “If it was only because it was not popular I believe they would implement this,” he said. “But the real reason is that it requires money. It causes a need to suddenly open double the number of classes. Most schools run on an independent budget, and they prefer to save rather than split classes.”
He added that in recent years the number of students in his own school has doubled and attributed this to the fact that religious students do not see the separate classrooms as a matter of extremism but rather as a matter of professionalism. According to Cohen, there are even many requests by secular girls to join the school due to their recognition that learning in separate classes is an advantage. He explained that secular girls are told from the beginning that the school is a religious one and that they would be required to comply with dress code regulations and the like, but added that the girls adapt to these requirements.
Despite it all, Cohen doubts that separate classes in secular schools will be seen anytime soon, due to the aforementioned budget restrictions.