OECD: Israel Pays Teachers Half of Western Average

The OECD's annual report on education shows Israel trailing other developed nations in spending per student and teacher salaries.

Israel spends less per student than other members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to an annual OECD education report released on Tuesday.

According to the report, in 2007 Israel spent $3,631 per preschool student, $5,060 per primary school student and $5,741 per secondary school student.

The corresponding average expenditures in other OECD countries were $5,447, $6,741 and $8,267.

Givatayim classroom Dan Keinan
Dan Keinan

Israeli classrooms were more crowded than the OECD average – 27.6 students compared to 21.6.

The Education Ministry said that the OECD's "Education at a Glance" report was based on data from before the implementation of the "New Horizon" educational reforms.

In 2008, an Israeli primary school teacher with 15 years experience earned $19,868, compared to the OECD average of $39,426.

"The data on the low teachers' salaries strengthens the righteousness of our struggle to improve pay for teachers," said Ron Erez, head of Israel's Secondary School Teachers Association. "It is unacceptable that a country belonging to the OECD would pay an important public sector like its teachers low salaries compared to their colleagues in western nations."

On a positive note, the OECD report found that Israel is one of the leading countries in high school graduation rate. 90 percent of Israeli teenagers graduate from high school, 10 percentage points higher than the OECD average.

Israel is also a leader in the percentage of people ages 25-64 with some form of higher education.

The rate of those 25-34 with a form of higher education, however, is lower than the 35-64 cohort, casting uncertainty on whether Israel will stay among the leaders in this category in the future.