Taub Center: devote more of budget to education

Israel spends less per student than the average OECD country.

children in school 224.8 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
children in school 224.8
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Israel must allocate at least one to two percent more of the state budget every year for education, the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel has concluded after completing a comprehensive study on education spending. Israel also spends less per student than the average OECD country, the center wrote in its annual report on resource allocation for social services, released Tuesday. The average in the OECD is $81,485 per student ($33,768 in elementary school and $47,717 for high school) compared to $67,548 in Israel ($31,152 elementary and $36,396 high school). Over the last decade, OECD spending per student has risen 38% on average, whereas in Israel spending has risen just five percent, according to the report. Spending on education has decreased drastically compared to the mid-90s, the center found, and despite claims of additional funds for education, the relative amount allocated by the government has dropped in the 21st century. In the mid-90s, education was a little over 9.7% of the budget, but by 2006 it was just 8.4%. The report also offered an overview of the school-age population from 1980 to the present and the changes therein. The report complimented Israel on assimilating millions of new immigrants and dealing with expanding birth rates in the Arab and haredi sectors. The report also noted the growing number of students enrolled in haredi education. In addition, the report noted that many more teachers now have academic degrees compared to 1980, and that percentage has been going up steadily. The center particularly mentioned the drastic improvement among those who teach in the Arab sector. The same percentage of elementary school teachers has academic degrees in the Jewish and Arab sector now. There are also many more teachers over the age of 50, who make up about 38% of the workforce. This could become a serious blow when they all retire in the not-so-distant future, the center warned. However, not enough time and money have been allocated to affirmative action programs for disadvantaged communities. In fact, over the first decade of the 21st century, the researchers found, hours and money for these programs have dropped. In the mid-90s, 10.1% of the Education Ministry's budget was set aside for these types of programs. By 2008, that had dropped to 9%, and the importance of these programs had dropped to eighth on the ministry's work plan.