High school graduates celebrate receiving their diplomas in Kafr Yasif last year..
(photo credit: SPERO SALAM)
Despite a considerable budget disparity between Arab and Jewish schools, a Taub Center study published on Wednesday shows overall improvement in Arab students.
The study shows evidence that Arab students’ academic performances are improving almost to the level of their Jewish counterparts.
The study was conducted by Taub Center researcher Nachum Blass, who examined data from schools between the years 2000 and 2015.
According to the study, the budget for Jewish students averages NIS 20,000 per student, while in the Arab-Israeli sector it is NIS 16,000.
The study shows that when comparing Jewish and Arab students of similar socioeconomic backgrounds, the results of the Arab students improved significantly, “approaching and even surpassing [the Jewish students] in some areas,” Blass wrote.
“The large gap in achievement between Jewish pupils and Arab-Israeli pupils can be explained to a great extent by their socioeconomic backgrounds, and if we want to reduce this gap, we should focus more generally on addressing socioeconomic issues,” he wrote in the study.
The study also showed that, in the Arab sector, there are more teachers with academic degrees than in Jewish schools, 95% versus 91%, respectively, in early childhood education.
The number of teachers in the Arab sector who hold a master’s degree is also catching up to Jewish schools: 29% compared to 43%, respectively.
In addition, the study shows an increase in school enrollment rates in the Arab sector, particularly among female pupils: from 59% to 94% between 2000 and 2015.
Other improvements can be seen in how many Arab Israelis are taking matriculation exams: 81% of Arab students, compared to 85% of Jewish students.
Despite this progress, only 36% of Arab Israelis aged 25-34 had more than 13 years of schooling, compared with 72% among Jews of the same ages in 2015.
The study also showed poor test results in English
. Fifty-eight percent of Jewish-Israeli students passed the English matriculation examination, while only 14% of Arab-Israeli students passed.