High-school Dropout Rate on Rise

Education Ministry statistics show that the high-school dropout rate is on the rise, with Bedouin and Russian-born immigrants leading the trend, and not enough is being done to solve the problem.

"Most of the teachers lack the necessary training to reach those pupils who are in danger of dropping out of school in order to keep them," says a teacher in a large high school in central Israel.

Dealing with such pupils is not easy and in the absence of the necessary tools, but also because of the absence of good will on the part of some of the schools, the easy solution is simply to let them drop out.

"It does not cost the Education Ministry anything to have pupils drop out - precisely the opposite. This is a worthwhile economic tactic, because there is no need to invest in small classrooms or in specialized education or in extra hours to assist weaker pupils. There is a huge gap between the declarations of the Education Ministry regarding its commitment to fight for every child, and the day-to-day reality," the teacher says.

According to the ministry data, the general proportion of pupils dropping out in high school increased from 4.8 percent last year to 5.4 percent this year.

The percentage points hide the enormous differences among different social groups.

The rate of dropouts among Jews is 4.7 percent compared to 8.3 percent among Arabs and 9.8 percent among Bedouin. The rate of dropouts among new immigrants is higher than the Jewish community overall: Among Ethiopians it is 5.8 percent, and among Russians it is 7.1 percent.