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Saturday, December 26, 2009


Dec 20, 2009
'Israeli pupils least educated in West'

Article's topics: Israeli School System, Taub Center

Education gaps in Israel were the highest in the Western world in the last decade, according to a study released on Sunday by the Jerusalem-based Taub Center for for Social Policy Studiesin Israel.

Are Israeli students inferior...

Are Israeli students inferior to their European, Japanese or American counterparts?

The failure of Israel's school system to grant children tools to be used later in life "will put them at a severe disadvantage that many will be unable to extricate themselves from," Taub Center executive-director Prof. Dan Ben-David stated in the report. "By creating the largest education gaps in the Western world," he said, Israel is "sowing the seeds today of high income gaps tomorrow."

A comparative study of grade school students from some 25 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member states showed that Israeli students scored inconsistently on international exams, the wide education gap only highlighted in comparison to students around the world.

Measured repeatedly throughout the decade, the percentage of standard deviations in countries as diverse as the Czech Republic and Canada was found to be significantly lower than Israel's year after year.

The study also showed that achievements in international exams were almost unwaveringly lower in Israel than in other Western nations. When compared with students from Japan or Korea, for example, Israeli students scored much lower grades on international exams, in some instances with a margin as wide as 20 points.

Only Italy came close to Israel's ranking, with students receiving comparatively low test scores, which nonetheless were higher than those of their Israeli counterparts.

Even the Israeli honors students - those in the top five percent of their class - received comparatively lower scores on international tests, though not by a very high margin. A more dramatic difference was manifested in a comparison of weak Israeli pupils and such pupils around the world - a margin as high as 60 points in comparison to Finland and Canada.

The report noted that the study's findings stood in stark contrast to the many achievements of Israeli researchers of previous generations, among them Nobel Prize laureates.

"For a country whose entire population is barely greater than that of metropolitan Philadelphia ... these findings indicate existential problems in the next generation - unless a comprehensive reform of the educational system is adopted, and soon," concluded Ben-David.

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