Education Minister Naftali Bennett.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
There was an increase of some 6,000 students this year who took the five-unit (highest level) mathematics matriculation exam, Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Tuesday.
Speaking at a press conference at the ORT School in Lod, Bennett announced the results of the education ministry’s push for more students to take the five-unit math matriculation exam.
“After a decade of dangerous decline in mathematics and science, I am happy to announce that we have overturned the trend,” he said.
According to the Education Ministry, there were a total of 12,800 twelfth graders who took the five-unit exam, up 2000 students from last year, and 15,800 eleventh graders who took the exam, up 4,000 students from last year.
The ministry noted that in the periphery, where the number of students taking the five unit mathematics matriculation exam is traditionally low, this year marked a 56 percent increase in Netivot, 68% in Yeruham, 104% in Rahat and a 96% increase in Shfaram.
The major cities – such as Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa – have also saw a significant rise in numbers of those who took the exam.
The ministry added that in the non-Jewish sector, the past few years have seen an increase of 700 students who took the high-level exam.
Upon taking office Bennett has placed a great deal of emphasis on reversing the downward trend of students taking the five-unit mathematics matriculation exam.
Earlier this year the ministry announced its goal was to double the number of students completing the exam in the next three years and increase Israel’s ranking compared to other OECD countries.
Currently, Israel is ranked in the lowest bracket with only 9.1% of high-school students completing high-level mathematics studies, along with countries such as Germany, Holland, Russia, Spain and England.
The ministry has said its new target will move Israel up to the next bracket of 16-30%, to be ranked alongside countries such as Australia, Estonia, Finland, France, Hong-Kong and Sweden.
The next group includes countries where over 31% of students completed high-level math studies and include: Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and New Zealand.
To that end, this past year numerous reforms were introduced to encourage students to take the highest level exam. The ministry allocated some NIS 75 million toward the effort, which focused primarily on the periphery and expanded the number of higher level math classes.