Sunday, April 17, 2011

Seeking education for our joint future together

Michal Korach

On the individual level, educational background, and particularly higher education, is positively correlated to a person’s income level and quality of life.  On a national level, it corresponds to the country’s level of socio-economic development on a whole.  Higher education is the “black gold” of the global age, and it importance is all the more pronounced in Israel, where the main resource is human capital.  

Newly-released data from the census performed in December 2008 by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics make it possible to classify Jerusalem’s neighborhoods by levels of education. 

This data reveals that the break-up of educational background (by highest degree earned) among Jerusalem’s population is similar to the national average.  Thirty six percent of Jerusalem’s residents aged 15 and above had completed high school (58% of which had completed their matriculation exam requirements), as compared with a national high-school graduation rate of 40%, of which 57% had also completed their matriculation exam requirements.  Eleven percent of Jerusalem’s population has non-academic post-high school education (compared with a national rate of 12%) and 22% held baccalaureate or post-baccalaureate degrees (compared with a national rate of 23%). 

Significantly enough, Jerusalem has an extremely high percentage of men who studied in a yeshivah – 27% compared with a national rate of 7%.  Of Israeli cities with 100,000 residents or more, only Bnei Brak had a higher percentage of males who had studied in yeshivah – 67%. 
The highest percentage of university graduates with a baccalaureate degree or higher was found in the neighborhoods of Rasqo, Giva’at Mordechai, German Colony, Old Katamon, Rehavia, French Hill, Abu-Tur, Baqa’a and Yamin Moshe.  The lowest percentages of university graduates, which varied between 2% and 10%, were found in the Ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods of Geula, Mea Shearm, Sanhedriya, Tel Arza, Romema, Makor Baruch and Ramat Shlomo. 

Jerusalem’s Ultra-Orthodox population is, by no account, homogenous with regard to education.  Some heavily Ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods boast a relatively high proportion of university educated residents, such as Har Nof (28%) and Givaat Shaul (20%). 

For many years, it was rather uncommon for Jerusalem’s Ultra-Orthodox populations (mainly the male population) to seek higher education, and particularly in academic channels, presumably because the men dedicated themselves to their religious studies.  Over the past years, this trend has been reversed, following increased awareness of the need to incorporate the Ultra-Orthodox population in the workforce.  One of the means for achieving this goal has been to increase access to and participation in higher education. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

None other like it in the world – Jerusalem's educational system

Dr. Maya Choshen

Jerusalem has been blessed with extraordinary cultural diversity.  The social and cultural wealth of Jerusalem's residents serves the city’s beauty and unique character as well as also serving as a source of conflict and social strife.  Jerusalem’s intricate diversity is also expressed in the city’s educational institutions which are among the keystones of Jerusalem’s public life and identity.  Jerusalem boasts a host of unique and unusual schools of every kind and creed – state, state-religious, Ultra-Orthodox and Arab, which currently serve 217,200 students in the 2010/2011 school year.
Let it be noted that for the first time in 15 years all educational streams are run by a single organizing unit entitled: haminhal le-sheirutei hinukh, the Administration for Educational Services. The newly-created administration combines the former two administrations: the Jerusalem Educational Administration (Manhi) and the Administration for Ultra-Orthodox Education (Manhah). The Jerusalem Educational Administration oversees the education of 31,700 students in the state education system and 27,000 students in the state-religious system.  In addition to the 58,700 students in the Hebrew division of the administration, there are another 67,100 students who study in the administration’s Arab division. The Administration for Ultra-Orthodox Education oversees the education of 91,400 school-ages children.

Jerusalem's educational system is the largest in Israel.  It currently serves 217,200 students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. These numbers do not include students studying in the private Arab educational system, an additional estimated 20,000.

The number of schoolchildren in Jerusalem rivals the entire population of Rishon LeZion, the fourth-largest city in Israel with 228,200 residents at the end of 2009, and exceeds the residential population of Ashdod, the fifth-largest city in Israel (206,400 residents).

The diverse communities, beliefs, practices and preferences of Jerusalem's residents and educational institutions, in addition to the sheer size of Jerusalem’s educational system, have proven a rather fertile ground for educational innovation of the highest order.  As such it has become a paradigm of excellence in the field of education and a model to be emulated throughout the rest of the country, a subject to which a future post will be dedicated.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Content and Watchfully Optimistic

Aviel Yelinek

Every year the CBS compiles a Social Survey intended to provide information about the living conditions and perceptions of Israel’s adult population (ages 20+).  The Social Survey for 2009 included questions that inquired into Israelis’ level of satisfaction with various aspects of their life. 

The 2009 Social Survey reveals that Jerusalem’s residents are more content with life than the population of any of Israel’s other large cities.  42% of respondents in Jerusalem said they were extremely satisfied with life compared to 30% of respondents in Haifa, 28% in Rishon LeZion, and 26% in Tel-Aviv.  Conversely, the number of Jerusalemite respondents who claimed they were moderately or extremely dissatisfied with their lives did not exceed 11%.  The percentages of dissatisfied individuals in Rishon LeZion, Tel-Aviv and Haifa were 11%, 14%, and 19%, respectively.

The data reveals a positive connection between religiosity and life satisfaction.  The highest levels of contentment were found among Jerusalem’s Ultra-Orthodox population: 64% of Ultra-Orthodox respondents said they were extremely satisfied with life, compared to only 38% of National-Religious Jerusalemites and 19% of traditional and secular Jerusalemites.

Jerusalemites also appear to be happier with their financial situation, relative to other Israelis.  More than any other group living in Israel’s largest cities, Jerusalemites expressed the highest levels of satisfaction with their financial situation: 62% said they were moderately or extremely satisfied with their financial situation, compared to 56% of respondents in Tel-Aviv and Rishon LeZion and 52% in Haifa. 

Jerusalemites were also the most rosy-eyed about their financial future.  60% of them believed their situation would improve, compared to 54% of respondents in Tel-Aviv, 45% in Haifa and only 39% in Rishon LeZion.