Ben-Gurion University graduation ceremony.
(photo credit: DAVID NEWMAN)
The Arab and ultra-Orthodox sectors still have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to achieving higher education degrees, according to the findings of a Central Bureau of Statistics report released Monday.
The report, which was issued on the occasion of the end of the academic year, found that 73,500 people received academic degrees in 2014/15: 40,900 from universities, 24,600 from academic colleges and 8,100 from colleges.
The report stated that in the past 25 years the total number of students receiving academic degrees from universities and colleges increased nearly fivefold, while the number of students receiving university degrees increased nearly threefold.
Over the last five years, there was a 20.7% increase in the number of students receiving degrees, including a 16.6% increase in master’s degree recipients and a 5.4% increase in PhD recipients.
The report noted, however, that for the first time in 20 years, the 2014/15 academic year saw a decrease over the previous year in those attaining first and second degrees, though there was still a marked increase of some two percent. In contrast, however, the number of students receiving PhDs increased compared to the previous year.
The majority of students receiving their bachelor’s and master’s degrees were women, 59.8% and 61.2% respectively, and comprised nearly half, 49.7%, of PhD recipients.
When breaking down the findings according to sector, the report found that among students receiving degrees, Arab students comprised 10.2% of students receiving undergraduate degrees, 9.2% of students receiving master’s degrees, and 4.4% of students receiving PhDs.
The report noted that this marked an increase from the previous year, where the rates stood at 9.7%, 8.7% and 3.2% respectively.
The data also showed that in the 2014/15 academic year 1,900 ultra-Orthodox students received bachelor’s degrees, accounting for 4.2% of all undergraduate degree recipients; as well as 1.5% of master’s recipients and 0.5% of PhD recipients.
The report noted that within five years the number of ultra-Orthodox alumni increased more than threefold. However, in taking into account the number of ultra-Orthodox women who completed degrees in non-academic colleges for education, the number of ultra-Orthodox students slightly more than doubled.
The report stated that this reflected a decrease of five percent from the previous year.
The report also found that the most popular fields of study in Israel in 2014/15 were the social sciences and humanities for bachelor’s degrees, while for master’s students the most popular fields were the humanities and business administration. For PhDs the most popular fields were in the natural sciences and mathematics.