Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar said on Monday that the growth and effectiveness measures for schools in 2009 demonstrated a slight improvement, but also indicated a broadening gap between Jewish and Arab students, as well as students from low and high socio-economic classes.
"The gap is growing between Hebrew speakers and Arab speakers, which we will work to diminish," Sa'ar said during a press conference in Jerusalem.
Sa'ar also speculated that some reasons for the improvement could be the fact that the school year was uninterrupted by teachers' strikes and also due to the fact that the Education Ministry implemented conclusions from previous years' data.
Education Ministery Director General Shimshon Shoshani said, "If we want to improve our international rankings, we must improve the results of the Arab sector."
"The Arab population brings down our international status," he added.
Grades 5 and 6 showed a particular improvement in core subjects, such as math, science, English and Hebrew.
Thirty-nine percent of students admitted to taking private lessons to advance their studies, 27 percent of which attend private English tutoring and 24 percent of students attend math tutoring.
Twenty-five percent of teachers believe that students' workload is not too heavy for them to handle.
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