More Israeli High Schoolers Matriculate, but Gap Between Jews, Arabs Widens

Three quarters of Jewish 17-year-olds passed bagrut exams in last school year, compared to less than half of Arabs.

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Yaron Kaminsky

The gap between Jewish and Arab 17-year-olds matriculating high school has grown over the last school year, now standing at 75.6 percent for Jews (excluding Haredim) and 48.4 percent for Arabs, according to Education Ministry data published Monday.

Although Arab matriculation (bagrut) rose by 2 percent, the Jewish rate increased by 4.7 percent, widening the gap.

The Education Ministry published for the first time new education indices for assessing achievement in high school. From now on, besides publishing data on how many students qualify for the bagrut, the ministry will also publish figures about how many students enlist in the IDF, how many drop out and other figures reflecting the schools’ social and communal involvement.

The data show a 3.3 percent increase in the total number of students, Jewish and Arab, earning a bagrut – to 56 percent.

Of the 71,633 who earned a bagrut, in the 2015-2016 school year 60 percent attended the state school system, 16.8 percent attended the state religious school system, 2.6 percent attended independent Haredi schools, 15.5 percent attended Arab schools (not including East Jerusalem), 2.4 percent attended Druze schools and 2.5 percent attended Bedouin schools in the Negev.

In the Haredi sector, just 10.2 percent of 17-year-olds earned a bagrut, but this is an increase from the previous school year when it stood at 8.6 percent. In the Negev Bedouin sector, only 32.3 percent earned a bagrut. Among 17-year-old Druze, the figure was 66.2 percent.

The figures show a 4-percent increase in the number of students in that age group. Of the 128,028 17-year-olds in Israel, 108,321 are in school. In addition, more students took the bagrut examinations – 76.7 percent of those eligible in the 2015-2016 school year, compared to 72.1 percent the year before. In 2015-2016, 90.6 percent of 12th-graders took the bagrut examinations.