The number of Jewish 3-5 year-olds attending preschool
increased approximately 27% from 2000-2010, with ultra-Orthodox
preschool attendance rising by 57% in that period, a new study from the Taub Center reveals.
The study cited a 15% rise in public preschool attendance, and a 20% increase in attendance at national-religious public preschools.
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In 2010, Ultra-Orthodox children comprised over 31% of all Jewish 3-5 year-old preschool attendees, up from about 25% in 2000, the study found.
(Graph: Taub Center)
The research, conducted by Nachum Blass and Haim Bleikh, with Hila Zaban from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, provides a comprehensive overview of Israel’s pre-primary education for children aged 0-6, with a focus on children aged 3-5.
The study also found that public preschool attendance for 3-5 year-olds in the Arab
sector grew significantly between 2000 and 2005, while remaining lower than attendance in the Jewish sector.
In 2010, about 71% of 3-5 year-old Arab children attended public preschools, as compared to 84%of 3-5 year-old Jewish children, compared to 49% and 85%, respectively, in 2000.
In addition to enrollment figures, the study also examined the cost of fully implementing the Compulsory Education Law,
passed in 1984, putting the figure at approximately NIS 1.4 billion annually.
According to the study's findings, Israel has made only a partial investment in education for the country's youngest children, with the exception of the few communities in which the Compulsory Education Law has been implemented. These communities, the study said, represented the lower socioeconomic sectors.
Implementing the study universally would incur a start-up cost of NIS 2.3 billion and would cost NIS 1.4 billion annually to run, the study calculated.
That cost includes NIS 700 million per year currently paid by parents that would be shifted to the government; NIS 670 million on operating costs for an additional 2,700 preschool classrooms; and NIS 250,000 for each new teacher that would have to be trained.
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