Students in a classroom [Illustrative].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The proportion of high school students eligible for higher level mathematics matriculation certificates is in decline, according to a report from the Central Bureau of Statistics.
The report released on Wednesday aimed to provide data regarding eligibility for matriculation certificates and higher education studies in science and technology.
The highest drop was registered in eligibility for the four-unit mathematics matriculation exam (out of five possible units), which saw a decline from 31.7 percent in 2009/10 to 24% in 2013/14.
There was also a decline, albeit smaller, in students eligible for the five-unit mathematics exam from 19.2% in 2009/10 to 17.7% in 2013/14.
The data also indicated that the proportion of students eligible for both higher level mathematics matriculation certificates as well as an additional matriculation certificate in at least one other science or technology field is also in decline, from 17.1% in 2009/10 to 15.8% in 2013/14.
In breaking down the statistics according to sector, the report found that the rates of eligibility for higher level mathematics matriculation (four and five units) were similar among students in the Arab sector and in the Jewish sector in 2009/10. In 2009/10 some 19% of students were eligible for fiveunit mathematics certificates in both sectors.
However, while among the Jewish population there was no significant change in this figure over the years, in the Arab sector there was a drop to 14% in 2013/14. Both sectors showed a drop in the eligibility for the four-unit mathematics matriculation certificate.
The report also showed that higher level mathematics is still predominately a male field of study. From 2009/10 to 2013/14 the number of male students who were eligible for higher level mathematics matriculation certificates was much higher than their female counterparts: 43.9% of boys compared to 40% of girls in 2013/14.
In the five-unit matriculation certificate this difference is more evident: 21.4% of male students compared to 14.9% of female students.
However, in the four-unit matriculation exam there were more female students than male students over the years.
The report stated that, “students eligible for matriculation certificates that were tested in higher levels of mathematics and especially in five units in mathematics, as well as higher level studies of science and technology fields comprise the future potential of students in science and technology in academia.”
As such, the report speculated that “the results of these trends [decline] will most likely be seen in the coming years.”
The report also found that in the 2014/15 academic year there were 228,600 students studying in higher academic institutions, 30% of them studying science and technology.
Among university students there was a 7% increase in those studying toward undergraduate degrees in science and technology, from 32.4% in 2009/10 to 39.6% in 2013/14. However, there was no change among new students in academic colleges studying toward undergraduate degrees in science and technology – roughly 20%.
In breaking down the data by sector, the report found that among the Arab students, there was a significant increase of almost 50% in those studying science and technology-related fields, from 959 students in 20010/11 to 1,410 students in 2014/15.
Despite this, Arab students still constitute only a small percentage of students studying in these fields, accounting for 10.2% of new students.
With regard to gender, the number of new female students studying science and technology in universities remained unchanged these past five years, standing at 37.7%.
In academic colleges the percentage of female students studying these fields remained lower than in universities, but still increased from 27.3% in 2010/11 to 31.2% in 2014/15.