Monday, May 7, 2012

The Educational System of Jerusalem

Lior Lehrs

Jerusalem’s educational system reflects the city’s diverse population and comprises three principal sectors: national and national-religious education, which is managed by the Jerusalem Education Administration within the Municipality (JEA); municipal Arab education, which includes official educational institutions and recognized but unofficial institutions that operate according to the educational curriculum of the Palestinian Authority (also managed by the JEA); and ultra-orthodox educational institutions managed by the Haredi educational division within the Municipality.

According to data from the Jerusalem Municipality, in the 2011-2012 academic year the city’s municipal educational system has 224,650 students. Of these, 43% attend Haredi educational institutions, 31% attend municipal Arab educational institutions, and 26% attend national and national-religious institutions. These statistics do not include students receiving a private Arab education, whose total is estimated at approximately 20,000.

Among students in grades 7-12 (middle and high school), a total of 37% receive a Haredi education, 33% receive a municipal Arab education, and 30% receive a state or state-religious education. At the elementary school level, by comparison, the figure for Haredi students is close (38%), slightly higher for Arab students (38%), and lower for national and religious-national students (24%). Among kindergarten children, the percentage receiving a Haredi education is particularly high – 48% – as compared to the figures for municipal Arab education (28%) and national or national-religious (24%). The percentage of Haredi children in kindergarten is especially high because it is affected by the relatively low percentage of Arab children, many of whom do not attend the municipal kindergartens. A separate analysis of students in the national education system reveals that their percentage decreases in accordance with the following age groups: they represent 19% of the city’s high school students, 15% of junior high school students, 12% of elementary school students, and 10% of kindergarten children.

An analysis of trends over the past 10 years (compared to the 2000-2001 academic year) reveals that the most significant change occurred within the municipal Arab educational sector, where the number of students increased by 126%. This change resulted from the Ministry of Education’s increased recognition of private Arab schools in Jerusalem as “recognized but unofficial institutions,” the construction of new classrooms, which increased the capacities of the schools, and natural population growth. During the same period, the number of students receiving a Haredi education increased by 30%, and within the national and national-religious sector there was a 12% decrease.



Source: Analysis of data of the Municipality of Jerusalem