PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu greets a pupil during a visit at the Tamra Ha’emek elementary school on the first day of the school year, in the Arab town of Tamra in the Lower Galilee..
(photo credit: BAZ RATNER)
Recent years have seen acceleration in the rate of increase in the number of pupils in state secular and state religious schools, while the rate of growth in ultra-Orthodox and Arab schools has slowed, according to a study the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies released on Monday.
There was continued growth in the number of haredi and Arab Israeli students between 2000 and 2015, yet during the second half of that period, the growth rate slowed. That slowdown coincided with a rise in the rate of increase in the state secular and state religious education streams.
The number of pupils in Arab Israeli schools rose by 6.7 percent between 2000 and 2001, but by only 2.3% from 2014 to 2015.
In haredi schools, the number of students increased 6.7% between 2000 and 2001, and by 5.1% between 2014 and 2015.
In contrast, the state secular education stream
experienced a rise in the growth rate from 0.3% between 2000 and 2001 to 3.1% between 2014 and 2015. Similarly, the state religious stream grew by 0.6% in the first period examined, and by 3.5% in the second. Researchers Nachum Blass and Haim Bleikh, the authors of the study, sought to understand the reason for these shifts. They concluded that the main explanation for this trend was the changes in fertility rates among the different sectors.
The study found an increase of 16.5% in the fertility rate within the Jewish population between 2000 and 2014, compared to other population groups: a 27% decrease among Muslims, a 10% decrease among Christians and a 23% decrease among Druse.
When differentiated by level of religiosity within the Jewish population, the statistics show that the fertility rate among the secular population rose by 10% between 2000 and 2009, and by 15% among the religious population, while the haredi birth rate decreased by 10%.
The report notes, however, that despite the changes in birth trends, the fertility rate of haredi women was still 3.5 times higher than that of secular women during this period – 6.53 children per haredi woman compared to 2.07 per secular woman in 2009.
The researchers also examined the transfers between schools in the different sectors and found that only some 2% of pupils transfer between education streams. Among those who did transfer, the study revealed a trend of pupils moving from more religious to less religious school systems.