Sunday, May 15, 2011

Studious Jerusalemites


Eitan Bluer

The Jerusalem Municipality is investing significant resources in its effort to brand Jerusalem as a national center of higher education and to draw students from every part of the country.  Jerusalem already boasts a large concentration of higher education institutions of every stripe – academic, rabbinic and post-secondary.  Jerusalem’s centrality in the field is evident from the large percentage of students enrolled in its institutions of higher learning; a percentage which greatly exceeds that found in other Israeli cities.  In 2009, 76,000 Jerusalemites over the age of 20 were enrolled in the city’s educational institutions.  As a percentage, this cohort accounted for 17% of its age group in Jerusalem as compared with 11% in Tel-Aviv and in Haifa and a national average of 10%.  Jerusalem also houses many rabbinic academies for men known as yeshivot gedolot.  The presence of these institutions also serves to explain the disproportionate male to female ratio in Jerusalem’s adult higher education: 63% to 37% respectively.  In other major cities, the male to female ratio is almost balanced: 49% to 51% in Tel-Aviv, and 47% to 53% in Haifa and in Israel as a whole.  

Higher education institutions in Jerusalem mostly fall into three categories: institutions that award academic degrees, institutions that award post-secondary certification and rabbinical yeshivot gedolot.  In 2009, 49% of adult students in Jerusalem were studying toward an academic degree.  Their number was 37,000, and 56% of them were female.  Another 25,000 students, which accounted for 33% of Jerusalem’s adult student population, studied in yeshivot gedolot.  They were all male, without exception.      Another 6,000 students, the equivalent of 8% of Jerusalem’s adult student population of which 63% were female, were enrolled in other post-secondary certification programs. 

Of the adult student population, the percentage of students enrolled in academic institutions was lower in Jerusalem than in Israel: 49% compared with 63%.  The proportion of students enrolled in post-secondary certification programs was also relatively low: 8% compared with 13% nationwide. On the other hand, the proportion of students enrolled at rabbinic male seminaries was conspicuously higher with 33% compared with 13%.