More Arab Students in Israel Attending University in New Academic Year

Greatest increase is among Arab women, particularly those doing advanced academic degrees.

David Bachar

The percentage of Arab university students in Israel has risen significantly in recent years, according to a Central Bureau of Statistics report marking the start of the new academic year.

This year, 14.4 percent of bachelor’s degree students will be Arabs, compared with 9.8 percent in 1999/2000. In that same period, the rate of Arab master’s degree candidates rose from only 3.6 percent to 10.5 percent this year, while Arab Ph.D. candidates doubled from 2.8 percent to 5.9 percent.

The portion of women among Arab higher education students has also risen. In 2000, 61.7 percent of Arab students were women, while this year the figure is 67.2 percent. The most significant increase is in the advanced degrees. The percentage of women among Arab master’s degree candidates has jumped from 40.9 percent in 2000 to 71 percent this year and Ph.D. candidates from 18.3 percent to 55.4 percent.

There was little change in the percentages of Jewish women among Jewish university students in that same period, though women were a majority at all degree levels.

The number of ultra-Orthodox university students has also gone up. Some 9,100 ultra-Orthodox students are registered for the new academic year – 800 more than last year. Almost a third (30.3 percent) of the ultra-Orthodox students are in the field of education.

Funding to increase the numbers of ultra-Orthodox and Arabs in higher education currently stands at 214 million shekels ($55,540,000,) the bureau said.