Survey: Only 63% of Haredi Schools Seek to 'Deepen Knowledge'

Survey exposes further data reflecting polarization in pedagogic attitudes prevalent in secular, ultra-Orthodox school systems.

Almost 90 percent of secular elementary school principals list deepening the knowledge of pupils as their prime objective. By contrast, this view is shared by only 63 percent of their ultra-Orthodox counterparts, a new survey by the Central Bureau of Statistics reveals.

The survey, filled out by principals of 2,400 elementary schools, exposed further data reflecting the degree of polarization in the different pedagogic attitudes prevalent in the secular school system and those characteristic of ultra-Orthodox education.

Some 25 percent of secular principals named instilling knowledge of Jewish studies as their main pedagogic objective, along with slightly less than 40 percent of their ultra-Orthodox counterparts. Some 31 percent of principals in state religious schools also shared this view.

Some 63 percent of the principals of secular schools noted their primary objective was to "educate pupils to love mankind, their people and their country," as the State Education Law reads. Only 52 percent of principals of religious and Arab schools shared this view. The statement was even less popular with ultra-Orthodox principals, with only 19 percent listing this goal as their objective.

The division is even more apparent from the answers regarding the second objective of the State Education Law, which is to "instill the principles listed in the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel, and to nurture esteem for human rights, basic liberties, democratic values and tolerance." Only 5 percent of ultra-Orthodox principals concurred with the statement, as opposed to 39 percent of their secular colleagues, 32 percent of state religious school principals and 30 percent of Arab principals.

In contrast, 79 percent of Arab principals stated their main objective was to promote the last clause of the law, referring to the need to "recognize the language, culture and history of the local Arab population, and the equal rights of all of Israel's citizens." Only 27 percent of the secular participants of the survey included the latter clause in their list of objectives, as opposed to 19 percent of religious principals and 13 percent of ultra-Orthodox ones.

Another subject reviewed was extracurricular activity undertaken in the school framework. As in the other questions pertaining to the pedagogic approach of the school, here, too, major differences were found in the various school systems. Only 34 percent of principals in the ultra-Orthodox schools said their students had taken a school trip to visit a museum, as opposed to 81.5 percent of secular principals.

In addition, only 5 percent of the ultra-Orthodox participants said their pupils had been taken to see a theatrical show.