More students earning Bagrut certificate

Proportion of students earning a high-school matriculation reaches 48.3 percent in 2010, highest level since 2004; Gideon Sa'ar: "Figures are encouraging, we will continue to improve results."

ethiopian israeli student school 248 88 (photo credit: Danielle Rothman)
ethiopian israeli student school 248 88
(photo credit: Danielle Rothman)
For the second year in a row, the proportion of students earning a high-school matriculation (bagrut) certificate increased, reaching 48.3 percent in 2010, the highest level since 2004.
The figures, which were presented at an Education Ministry press conference on Monday, constitute a 2.2-percentage point increase over 2009 and a 4-point increase over the past two years. Among non-Jews there was a 3.3-point increase in pupils matriculating, from 35% to 38.3%.
The percentage of non-haredi Jews matriculating climbed from 61.8% to 64.6% in 2010, while only a small rate of haredim matriculated (8.1%) over the past year, bringing the overall Jewish total to 54.4%.
Among non-Jews there were also discrepancies: While matriculation in the Arab sector was up 4.9 percentage points in 2010, the ministry’s figures showed that there was a small drop in Druse matriculation (0.9 points) as well as in Beduin matriculation (1.2 points).
While there was a significant increase in the proportion of Arab and Druse youngsters enrolled in school, among Beduin the percentage fell from 67.5% to 64.7% in 2010.
During the press conference on Monday, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar (Likud) said that the figures “are encouraging and show an increase in every meaningful parameter.”
Sa’ar added “we don’t give up on any student and we will continue to improve results.”
Shlomo Buhbut, chairman of the Union of Local Authorities, said the ministry had taken credit for the hard work performed by local authorities.
“I give my blessing to any positive results from the Education Ministry, but it’s a shame that they don’t understand that the ones standing on the front lines are the local authorities,” he said.
Buhbut said that the results didn’t reflect the impact that the socioeconomic status of a particular locale had on the performance of its students.
“The authorities that are in good shape have good results and the ones that are in bad shape have bad results. Unfortunately, the results in the periphery are always lower – especially for the Beduin, the Arabs, the Druse,” he said.
Buhbut called on the Education Ministry to present a comprehensive plan to improve teaching in the periphery and to reach better results in the Arab, Druse and Beduin sectors.
MK Taleb a-Sanaa (United Arab List-Ta’al) said the matriculation rates for Beduin pupils indicated that “a revolution is needed in the state’s education system for the Beduin sector.”
Sanaa, who is Beduin, said the numbers were the result of official neglect and the failure of the Education Ministry to meet the needs of the Beduin population.
He also accused the Israel Lands Authority of scuttling projects for the construction of schoolrooms for Beduin students.
Sanaa called for an investigative committee to be launched into the sector’s educational shortcomings.
“The Beduin education system is on the verge of collapse,” he said.