Small Drop Seen Last Year in Rate of Israeli High School Matriculation

52.7 percent of students, compared to 53.4 percent in 2013, earned their matriculation (bagrut) certificate in 2014, marking reversal in trend of recent years.

Yarden Skop
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Israeli high school students taking matriculation exams.
Israeli high school students taking matriculation exams.Credit: Archive
Yarden Skop
Yarden Skop

There was a small drop in the percentage of teenagers who earned a matriculation (bagrut) certificate in 2014 – 52.7 percent, compared to 53.4 percent the previous year, according to Education Ministry statistics released yesterday. The decline marked a reversal in the trend of recent years.

That statistic, though, represents the percentage of all 17-year-olds during the school year, whether or not they were in school. Among those who attended 12th grade, the percentage earning a bagrut certificate continued to rise, reaching 65.5 percent of those pupils in 2013/14, up from 64.2 percent the previous year. Over the past five years, the percentage of those in school who earned a bagrut certificate has gone up 7.7 percentage points.

The drop in the ratio of those earning a bagrut certificate was rooted primarily in the ultra-Orthodox community and the Bedouin sector. Without the Haredim, the Jewish sectors still showed a drop in the percentage of those earning a certificate, from 72.2 percent in 2013 to 70.9 percent in 2014. Among those who attended 12th grade, however, the percentage in the Jewish sector rose to 75.1 percent, from 73.5 percent the previous year.

In the Haredi sector there was a drop in the percentage of bagrut-earners both among those in school and among the entire cohort. Of those in school, only 15.9 percent earned a bagrut certificate in 2014, the lowest percentage in six years. In general, the percentage of Haredim earning a certificate has dropped over the past six years; in the 2008/9 school year, 22.3 percent of Haredim in school earned a bagrut certificate. Among all Haredi 17-year-olds, only 8.6 percent did, also a drop from the 9 percent registered in 2013.

In the overall non-Jewish sector, the percentage of 17-year-olds earning a certificate rose slightly in 2014 to 45.9 percent. But among those in school there was a significant rise, to 59 percent in 2014, from 55.5 percent in 2013. Both Arabs and Druze saw significant increases among 12th graders who earned a certificate. Among the Bedouin, however, the percentage of 12th-graders earning a certificate dropped from 50.3 percent in 2013 to 47.5 percent.

Girls are more likely to earn a bagrut certificate than boys; among those in school, the percentage earning a certificate stood at 68.7 percent in 2014, compared to 61.8 percent for the boys.

These statistics are for the years in which Shay Piron of Yesh Atid was education minister. Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) said, “Improving the bagrut certificate is not just a pedagogical mission, but a national mission. Today’s bagrut certificate is tomorrow’s Israeli economy.

“Our first mission is to increase the percentage of those earning a bagrut certificate, along with enhancing the quality of the certificate and increasing the number of students taking five points of math,” Bennett continued. “Our second mission: To instill the notion that education is not a matter of geography, but of motivation, and to reduce the gaps between the periphery and the center.”

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