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Haredim 521.(Photo by: buyitinisrael.com)
Number of haredim pursuing academic studies up dramatically
By BEN HARTMAN
03/28/2011
Bank of Israel: Over 90 percent of students pursue subjects with a strong vocational orientation, no increase in workforce participation.
The number of haredi students pursuing an academic education in Israel has gone from only a few hundred in 2005 to around 2,500 in 2010, according to a Bank of Israel report set to be released on Wednesday. The report also states that the number of haredim studying in programs geared toward their sector climbed from around 2,000 to 6,000 over the same period.

In a preview to the report released on Sunday, the Bank of Israel said that over 90 percent of those students pursue subjects with a strong vocational orientation and that, in spite of their increasing pursuit of academic studies, there has not been a noted increase in their participation in the workforce.

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The report, entitled “Education and Employment in the ultra-Orthodox Population,” highlights what it says is the importance of increasing the number of haredi Jews in the workforce, saying “according to various estimates, the haredim currently constitute 8-10% of the population, and their proportion of 25 to 64- year-olds (the main working age group) will reach 17% in about 20 years.

The report mentions education appropriate to the job market as being crucial to achieving the goal of higher haredi employment and lauds government expenditures devoted to this goal.

“Various programs have been introduced in recent years to encourage the integration of the haredim in the labor market by means of professional training and placement, stipends for academic studies, and employment support. Government expenditure on these projects exceeded NIS 300 million in 2010 (of which NIS 150 million was allocated as a subsidy for day-care centers serving this population).

“Encouraging the haredim to acquire education appropriate to the labor market as well as professional training is the key to their integration in the world of work.”

The report says that surveys show an ongoing and significant increase in haredi women entering the workforce, while the number of haredi men working has showed no significant increases. The report blames their lack of appropriate education for deterring haredi men from joining the workforce.
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