The ministry's director-general, Dalit Shtauber, presented the data, according to which a 1.7% increase was registered in the number of high-school students passing their matriculation exams; thus increasing the percentage of those meeting the criteria for the bargut (the Israeli equivalent of a high school diploma) to 49.8%.
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The number includes Arab, Haredi and secular students, and represents only 2,384 additional students who met the matriculation exam's conditions.
According to the former education minister, this "is a very impressive increase which includes all sectors (of Israeli society). This is a significant increase (for a single year), but more important is the overall rise during the four years of my term."
Over the past five years, a 3.5% increase was registered in the overall percentage of high school graduates, bringing the number up from 46.3% to 49.8%.
Not including the haredim, in the Jewish education sector, an overall increase in matriculation rates was registered, with the percentage of those meeting the matriculation criteria rising from 68.4% to 71.2% (or an additional 1,495 students).
However, when taking into account the haredi population, the overall percentage of matriculation in the Jewish population drops to 55.3%, and 65.2% of those currently studying (as opposed to the general population).
When examined on its own, the haredi education system registered a 0.6% (or a 27 student) decrease in matriculation rate, thus putting the overall matriculation percentage in the haredi populating at 8.2%. Out of all the haredim, only 21.8% participate in the matriculation exams.
On the other hand, a 2.1% increase was registered among new immigrants, raising the overall rate of those eligible for a bagrut to 55.8%.
In the general non-Jewish sectors (which include Arabs, Druze and Negev Bedouins) a 4.2% increase in matriculation rates was registered among those studying, bringing the number to 52.4% of the students this year, and thus raising the overall level of high school completion in the non-Jewish sector to 42.4%.
Within the sector, the Druze students fared the best, registering a 7.8 increasing, raising the percentage of those matriculating this year to 62.8%.
The Bedouin sector registered a 0.6 decrease putting the overall percentage of matriculation levels among Bedouins in general at 29.1% and those currently complete their studies at 47.1%. A number which points to a growing gap between younger and older generations in the Bedouin population, hinting those future generations will continually bode better.
An overall increase was also registered in dropout rates.
Nonetheless, during the press conference, when asked about Sa'ar's critism of him, Prion, who was sitting next to Sa'ar, said: "Minister Sa'ar did his job and archived serious achievements, it is only befitting he express his concern. It is my job to listen and to make the correct decision."
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