Educational standards in Israel are slipping badly. Many Russian and Israeli parents are pulling their children out of public education and enrolling them in Shuvu schools which perform much better than the national average.
The OECD reported that, in 2008, the number of students per class in Israel is one of the highest in the world, with an average of 33 students in every junior-high class room, as opposed to about 24 in other Western countries and 27 per class in elementary school as opposed to 22 in OECD countries. Consequently, the student-teacher ratio in Israel is one of the highest in the world.
This may explain why Israel ranks 40th out of the 57 developed nations tested in international student assessment rankings (PISA). In Israel’s national (Meitzav) tests, grades among elementary and junior high school students were found to be well below average or failing in math, science and English.
Verbal and Physical Violence
The responsibility for some of the deterioration of education also falls on the shoulders of parents and students, who have become a threat to teachers, who in turn are afraid to confront them and to enforce discipline in classrooms. “This is not about individual behavior of parents and students, but rather, about the development of a culture of verbal and physical violence that has spilled into every aspect of Israeli life and which is rooted in the loss of leadership”, says Aaron Ciechanover, Nobel Prize Laureate and Professor at Haifa’s Technion University.
MK Michael Melchior, former head of the Knesset’s Education Committee, said: “There are children that come to school hungry, because the Treasury hasn’t understood something as simple as the fact that children should be provided food. At the same time, the Ministry of Education’s welfare department budget has been reduced by 17% since 2001, despite a 44% increase in the number of children requiring its services, causing an increase in truancy and dropouts.”
Frequent teacher strikes and lack of motivation is no surprise when you consider that they are paid less than half the global average salary for teachers.