There has been a rise in the number of students completing high school and the bagrut matriculation exam over the past five years, according to statistics released by the Education Ministry on Tuesday.In the 2013/14 school year, 65.5 percent of high school students completed their bagrut, a slight increase over the year before (64.2%) and up from 57.8% in the 2008/09 school year.Other than ultra-Orthodox students, 75.1% of Jewish high school students in the 2013/14 school year took matriculation exams. Only 4,788 ultra-Orthodox students took the exams that year, representing 27.3% of those taking the exams, and only 1,511 matriculated.Among non-Jewish students, other than those in east Jerusalem, 21,302 students took matriculation exams in the 2013/14 school year, representing 72.6% of those taking the exams, and 13,448 matriculated.Looking at it from an age perspective, 52.7% of those in the age range to be high school seniors during the 2013/14 school year finished their exams, a slight drop from the 53.4% the year before, but an overall improvement over the 46.1% in the 2008/09 school year.Overall, girls are matriculating at a higher rate than boys. Out of 54,099 girl high school students in the 2013/14 school year, 48,482 took the matriculation exams (89.6%) and 37,183 matriculated (68.7%).Out of the 47,049 boy high school students in the 2013/14 school year, 42,174 took the matriculation exams (89.6%) but only 29,065 matriculated (61.8%). Among new immigrants, 59.9% of those who took the exams matriculated in the 2013/14 school year, up from 55.8% in the 2011/12 school year.“Improving matriculation scores is not just a pedagogical task – it is a national task, tomorrow’s economy is today’s high school matriculation diploma,” said Education Minister Naftali Bennett.“Our first task is to increase the percentage of those who matriculate, alongside improving the quality of the matriculation certificate and increasing the number of students taking the five point exam in mathematics. The second task: We embed the fact that education is not a matter of geography but of motivation, and we reduce the gaps between the periphery and the center. Academia must see more of a variety of populations at its gates, this is right for the students, it is also right for academia, and it is right for the country," said Bennet.