The state invests almost double the amount of money on pupils living on the east side of the security fence in Judea and Samaria than those in the periphery, according to research published by Macro – The Center for Political Economics on Monday.According to the research, conducted by Dr. Roby Nathanson, director general of the Jerusalem-based research center that focuses on economic and sociological analysis of current and evolving issues on Israel’s public agenda, and Itamar Gazala, its head of research, the state invested NIS 12,899 per pupil in what they called “isolated settlements beyond the separation fence” in 2013, as opposed to the national average of NIS 6,540 per pupil.Nathanson and Gazala said per-pupil investment in areas of national priority, the Negev and Galilee, was NIS 7,788 and NIS 6,761, respectively, in 2013, while the average that year in all of Judea and Samaria was NIS 7,253 per pupil and the national average (excluding Judea and Samaria) was NIS 6,540.The research also looked at class sizes in Judea and Samaria, saying they were seven percent below the national average, excluding Judea and Samaria, in 2013. The average class size in Judea and Samaria, according to the research, was 23.4 pupils per class that year compared to the average of 24.5 in the Negev and 24.7 in the Galilee.“The data found in the research shows exceptionally high amounts of resources allocated to Judea and Samaria, and in particular to the isolated settlements east of the fence,” said Nathanson.“The conclusion is that this is a conscious and deliberate policy of granting extra positions and additional budget to these settlements, at the expense of those periphery towns in the North and the South that have been defined as national priority areas.” The Education Ministry responded to the data, saying the facts presented were wrong, and claiming that “[t]he average cost for the 2013/14 school year per pupil was NIS 16,300 for all stages of education versus NIS 15,500 in the region of Judea and Samaria. It is, therefore, unclear where the data published by the Macro institute was taken from and what it is based on.”In addition, the ministry said the average number of pupils in a class in regular institutions and regular classes stands at 28 students on the national level and the average in the towns of Judea and Samaria is 27.2 per class. In terms of eligibility for a bagrut certificate in the settlements to the east of the security fence, the rate stands at 68.7%, more than 11% above the national average excluding Judea and Samaria, the research found, compared with eligibility rates of 55% in the Negev and 61.2% in the Galilee. The rate of eligibility in all of Judea and Samaria was just under 45%, it found.Nathanson and Gazala explained the low rates by the high concentration of ultra-Orthodox Jews living in the region, most of whom do not take the exams.