Report claims Israeli education among worst in developed world

A damning report lists a number of statistics. Israeli teachers earn little, work many hours in small and overcrowded classrooms.

Tzvi Lev,

High school students
High school students
Flash 90

Israel is an international leader in hi-tech, medical breakthroughs, agriculture and other fields. The Israelis succeeding in these endeavors were educated within Israel. However, a new report by the Shoresh Institute claims that Israeli education is substandard. Other factors are at play, it seems.

The new report claims that despite spending more than most of the world does on education, Israelis are receiving a substandard education, poor teachers, and evince a systematic failure to properly utilize resources.

The scathing report found that Israel's education ranks among the lowest in the developed world. Israeli achievement scores ranked 24 out of 25 nations in the OECD, topping only Slovakia.

The report also said that despite Israel investing more in education than the rest of the world, Israeli pupils achieve lower scores than countries that invest substantially less.

"The key issue is not how many school days or the number of schooling hours the country pays. The primary problems emanate from what actually occurs during the instruction time: what is being taught; the level of teaching; and the kind of discipline that is being enforced" said the report, suggesting that the problem might be in what goes on during teaching.

However, the report does not add a crucial parameter: Israel is a country that absorbs hundreds of thousands of immigrants, many of whom come from backgrounds far removed from the questions on standardized tests, which are also always culture based. It takes years, even a generation, to close the educational gap for average immigrant students, sometimes even for their children.

The Shoresh researchers said that the standard six day school week in israel does not lead to success.. However, most Israeli schools switched to five day school weeks several years ago, so that conclusion is unclear.

"In lieu of transparency in Israel’s budgets, it is hard to discern where exactly this money is being directed, or how it is being spent," they wrote.

The report saved its harshest criticism for Israel's treatment of the Arab sector, which, however, somehow makes up most of the registered pharmacists ih the country and a good proportion of the medical staff in hospitals and clinics, among other careers.

“The education that Israel provides to its Arabic-speaking children is below that in many Third World countries," it found. "Arab-Israeli pupils attained a lower score than the average scores in most of the predominantly Muslim countries participating in the exam.”

This report comes on heels of the Chinese Academic Ranking of World Universities which lowered the grades it gave to Israeli higher education. In a report released Tuesday, the annual publication of university rankings by the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy lowered the Technion by 24 places to its current 93, rendering it Israel's only institution of higher education in the worlds top 100.

Hebrew University dropped to number 101 from its previous 87, and both Bar Ilan University and Ben-Gurion University plunged to a ranking in between 401 and 500.

The Weizmann Institute in Rechovot, however, ranked #6 in the Best Global Universities ranking for Asia which includes Japan, China and other countries and it ranked 1st in Israel.




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