Only 30% of Arab teachers able to find work, Education Ministry tells Knesset panel

The Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee convenes to discuss differences in current placement system for Jewish and Arab teachers.

Classroom (illustrative). (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Classroom (illustrative).
The Education Ministry places only 30 percent of newly graduating Arab teachers in the profession,statistics presented on Wednesday to a Knesset panel showed.
The Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee debated the differences in placement systems for Jewish and Arab teachers.
Qualified teachers seeking employment are generally placed according to scores they are give by the ministry, under a system that seeks to ensure the best candidates are employed. “Our main goal is to recruit the highest quality [teachers] from the existing pool and therefore we formulated a method that gives each candidate a score,” Sonia Peretz, director of human resources at the ministry told the panel.
Every year some 18,000 Arab educators, of whom 12,000 are new teachers, seek placement, but the ministry is able to provide employment for only 30 percent, Peretz said.
Peretz defended the scoring system as intended to “prevent placements out of interests.”
MK Haneen Zoabi (Joint List) said she agreed with the system but thought a balance had to be struck between the demand for new teachers and a need to steer surplus candidates to other professions. She urged the ministry to let each Arab teacher know their score so as to avoid frustration or despair over not being chosen for a job.
Zoabi also called for placing Arab teachers in Jewish schools.
“There was a program that accepted [Arab] teachers into Jewish schools under [former Education Minister] Shai Piron, but there was no real commitment of the education ministry to do this,” Zoabi said.
Abdullah Hativ, head of the ministry’s Arab sector education department, said more colleges were needed in the Arab sector to offer new fields of study.
“We want to establish academic colleges for needed fields within Arab society. Art subjects and physical education are required, but we do not have any candidates in these areas, in contrast we have an abundance of teachers in special education,” Hativ said.
MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint List) said that Arabs account for just 9.5 percent of civil servants and urged that more Arabs be offered such a career option.
MK Yaakov Margi (Shas), the committee chairman, called on the ministry and the Council for Higher Education to prepare a strategic plan to address the oversupply of Arab teachers and steer Arab students to other professions.
Margi also urged the ministry to check the possibility of employing Arab teachers in Jewish schools lacking in qualified in qualified personnel.