A HIGH SCHOOL is seen in southern Jerusalem’s Beit Safafa neighborhood..
(photo credit: JERUSALEM MUNICIPALITY)
There are wide gaps between the education systems in east and west Jerusalem, reflected in school dropout rates, the number of classes and budgets to promote the students, according to a report published Monday by left-wing NGO Ir Amim ahead of the school year.
The report, based on official statistics, states that a third of the students in east Jerusalem drop out of school, meaning that they won’t finish 12 years of school. The annual dropout rate in east Jerusalem is 13%, whereas the rate in the Hebrew high schools in Israel is 1.5%, and in Arab high schools, 1.9%.
It adds that the Jerusalem Municipality discriminates against the residents of east Jerusalem by investing less money there to stop the dropout phenomenon. The report says that the budget invested in this field in 2017 is NIS 4.1 million, while the Education Administration in the Jerusalem Municipality determined that some NIS 15m. is needed to close the gaps between east and west Jerusalem.
The report links the dropout phenomenon to the lack of available classrooms in east Jerusalem.
In east Jerusalem, there are three types of schools in which students can take either the Israeli matriculation final exam or the Jordanian Tawjihi: official schools, informal but recognized schools (recognized by the Education Ministry) and private schools.
The first two are overseen by the municipality and state, but only the first type comes under the purview of the Compulsory Education Law, which provides free education. The supervision in the informal but recognized schools is less tight than in official schools; hence the level of education there is lower.
The report finds that due to lack of official schools, more and more students are enrolling in informal but recognized schools, and receive poorer education.
Oshrat Maimon, the policy advocacy director at Ir Amim, said that this continues the trend in recent years in which the municipality and the ministry have been neglecting education in east Jerusalem.
“The recent school year received the title of ‘the year of unified Jerusalem’ from the education minister. Nevertheless, the municipality and state continue to bear the responsibility for their failure in east Jerusalem,” she said.
“After 50 years of neglect, instead of investing efforts in harming the rights of students in Jerusalem for education to their own legacy and culture, they should... build classrooms, prevent dropouts and provide access to the academy,” she added.
Meanwhile, the municipality announced a NIS 25m. plan to improve the education system in east Jerusalem in order to narrow the gaps with the western part of the city.
According to a statement released on Sunday, a rise of 14% of students who take the Israeli matriculation final exams is expected in the next school year.
The statement adds that 79 classrooms were added to the east Jerusalem education system ahead of the next school year.
Four schools were built as well, and among them is Abada’a High School for Music and Arts in Sheikh Jarrah. In this new school – the first Arab school of its kind in Israel, according to the statement – the students will study the Israeli curriculum and take the bagrut (matriculation) exam in one of three subjects: arts, theater or music, including Arabic music.
The municipality plan will include extra study after school hours, long days of studies and promotion of meaningful education, the statement says.