Students in a classroom [Illustrative].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The average class in elementary and high schools under the authority of the Education Ministry during the 2013/14 academic year had 27 pupils, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported on Sunday.
Middle schools classes averaged 28.2 children; while first through sixth grades had an average class size of 26.8 pupils. The smallest class sizes were among 10th through 12th grades, with only 26.2 pupils on average, according to the report.
State secular and state religious schools had more pupils per class than Arab schools.
State secular school classes had an average of 28.9 youngsters in the first through sixth grades, and 30.6 pupils in the seventh-ninth grades, in comparison with 27.6 and 29.5, respectively, in the Arab sector.
In high schools, state secular schools had an average of 26.6 students per class in 10th-12th grades, while in the Arab sector the figure was 27.1.
The smallest average class sizes were in the state religious school system, which had an average of 24.7 pupils in the first-sixth grades, 25 pupils for seventh-ninth grades and 23.2 for 10th-12th grades, and in schools categorized as “other religious” or Orthodox schools not under the Education Ministry (23.5, 23.7 and 26.5 pupils per class, respectively).
In 30.4% of elementary and high schools, there were 33 or more students per class.
Some 31.7% of schools in the state secular system had more than 33 pupils per class; this figure drops significantly to only 15.6% of all schools in the state religious school system and 27% of all schools in the Arab sector.
Among cities, Ness Ziona had the largest class sizes with an average of 31.1 pupils for the first-sixth grades, followed by Taiba (30.9), Givatayim (30.2), Hod Hasharon and Kfar Saba (30.0). The cities with the smallest average class sizes for first-sixth grades included Beit She’an (18.3), Ofakim (21.4) and Safed (21.4).
Israel is one of the OECD countries with the highest average class sizes in elementary schools, second only to Chile (30 pupils per class) and tied with Japan, according to the CBS report.
In middle schools, Israel’s standing slightly improves though it is still well above the OECD average of 24 pupils per class.