Haredi students at classroom.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The number of ultra-Orthodox students pursuing higher education degrees is on the rise, according to a report the Central Bureau of Statistics released this week.
The report provides statistics on haredi high school graduates in the higher education system in Israel and offers a comparison with the non-haredi Jewish student population.
According to the report, in the 2015/16 academic year, there were 11,013 haredi students enrolled in higher education institutions as compared to 4,537 in 2009/10.
This indicated an annual growth rate of some 16.3% during this period, in comparison to a growth rate of 0.9% among Jewish students and 1.6% among the general student population pursuing higher education degrees.
During the 2015/16 academic year, haredi students accounted for 4.8% of the Jewish student population pursuing bachelor’s degrees, 2.4% pursuing master’s degrees and 0.6% pursuing doctoral degrees.
Of the haredi students pursuing academic degrees, 48% studied in academic colleges, 27% in teachers’ colleges, 14% in the Open University and 12% at the research universities.
In comparison, the study found that 33% of non-haredi Jewish students studied at one of the research universities.
The report further found that the enrollment rate of haredim at higher education institutions was four to fourand- a-half times lower than that of non-haredi Jewish students.
The data indicated that of the undergraduate haredi students in 2015/16, 68.3% were women.
Despite the increasing trend of haredim pursuing higher education degrees, the dropout rate for this sector remains significantly higher compared to that of the general student population.
Of the haredi students who began their undergraduate studies in 2014/15, 23.9% did not continue for a second year, compared to 8.2% among the non-haredi Jewish population.
In academic colleges for education, the rate was even higher, with over half of haredi students dropping out after the first year, compared to 10.7% among the non-haredi Jewish population.
Furthermore, the report found that 39.7% of haredi students who began their undergraduate studies in 2009/10 had yet to complete their degree, compared to 20.5% among non-haredi Jewish students.
With regards to areas of study, the findings found that the most popular fields among haredi students were education, law, computer science and business.
The Council for Higher Education has in recent years made the integration of haredim into higher education a priority.
As part of the council’s multi-year plan, announced in September 2016, it is to allocate some NIS 500 million to this end.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett said upon announcing the plan that the education system would not give up on “the integration of ultra-Orthodox, Arabs, Ethiopian immigrants and the periphery.”