The Israeli educational system
The national educational system of Israel
|The Israeli educational system is largely centralized and publicly funded, with a standard national curriculum. Obligatory education begins at the last year of kindergarten and lasts until the 12th grade. In the K-12 grades there are nearly 2 million pupils and 130,000 teachers (as of 2008). The school system is organized into three levels: elementary school (ages 6-12), middle-school (ages 12-15) and high-school (ages 15-18). Class size generally ranges from 25 to 40 pupils.|
Schools are grouped by major institutional divisions: secular Jewish, religious Jewish and Arab. Pupils in the Jewish schools learn in Hebrew, and pupils in the Arab schools learn in Arabic. Ultra-orthodox Jewish schools, as well as some private schools in Arabic towns, have different degrees of autonomy and only partial national funding.
Compulsory studies are free by law, but in practice several activities and curricula are funded by parents and/or by NGOs, depending on the socio-economic status of each community. In addition, “Public magnet schools”, such as arts and science schools, usually involve additional tuition fees.
The curriculum is set out by the Ministry of Education, and 75% of each school’s curriculum must adhere to it. In addition to a High School Diploma, secondary studies are culminated by centralized matriculation examinations. These exams measure achievement in required and elective disciplines. Required disciplines are Mathematics, English, Civics, and four humanities subjects, such as literature. Natural sciences and social sciences are electives. There is some flexibility within the obligatory topics, for example, taking an exam in Islamic studies instead of Bible studies. The matriculation certificate is not a requirement for high school graduation, but it is a basic prerequisite for most jobs and further academic studies. About 95% of the youth graduate from high-school, but only about half of them pass the matriculation exams.
A school day typically comprises four to five 45-minute class sessions at the younger grades and five to six 45-minute class sessions at the older grades. Most instruction is frontal with additional group-work and inquiry projects in different topics.