Israeli teachers’ salaries are among the lowest in the world, in relation to the gross domestic product, according to a report released on Tuesday by the international Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The annual of salary of a new elementary school teacher here, at $18,199 in 2008, compares to an OECD average of $28,949, the report found.

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Average elementary school class size here is 28 pupils; the OECD average is 22.

In addition, the average investment per Israeli student only rose by eight percent between 1995 and 2007, while the average for OECD member states rose 42%. The annual investment in students here averaged $5,740, compared to an OECD average of $8,300.

The data for the OECD report was culled from the years 2007- 2008, before the Education Ministry’s “New Horizon” reform, which includes raising teachers’ salaries.

The ministry’s director-general, Shimshon Shoshani, said to Israel Radio: “There are changes this year, and the budget for the next two years is higher. I am waiting to see the results in 2012.”

The OECD is an economic organization of the 32 most developed countries in the world. Israel was accepted as a full member earlier this year.

Among other statistics about Israel in the OECD’s “Education at a Glance 2010” report is that 10% more students complete 12 years of schooling in Israel than in the average OECD country, with 90% of students graduating 12th grade.

Israel is also unusual in that the same percentage of young (25-34) and older (55-64) people have graduated college. The percentage of college graduates in Israel – 43% – is among the highest, higher than that of the US and Germany. An Education Ministry statement credited the influx of immigrants in the last decade with increasing the amount of Israelis with college degrees.

In addition, 60% of high school graduates in Israel pursue higher education, while the average in OECD countries is 56%, and the percentage is growing faster in Israel than in most of the OECD. The average age of new college students in Israel is 23.7, while in the rest of the OECD it is 20.4.

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