For the first time the Education Ministry is set to recognize haredi seminary final exams as Bagrut matriculation exams in every way. This means that any young woman who graduates from the independent education system’s haredi seminaries to become integrated in higher education institutions.
The decision is set to come into effect retroactively for any woman who has taken the exams in the last decade.
The Szold Exams - the haredi equivalent to Bagrut exams- are carried out by the Szold Institute. Some 4,500, a majority of seminary students take external exams in Hebrew, history, English, math and grammar. Data previously published by Ynet revealed that 90% of the girls pass the exams successfully, yet until now, were not recognized as graduates by the Education Ministry.
The external testing system has been in use for 50 years, ever since haredi rabbis refused to allow their students to take the Bagrut exams. On Monday Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar announced the recommendations presented by officials within the ministry would be a accepted.
The recognition process will allow seminary graduates to complete the full Bagrut externally and according to ministry officials, will remove employment barriers.
“These are great tidings for thousands of haredi girls who study the core curriculum,” said Sa’ar. “It’s time to act in line with professional standards in order to remove barriers of furthering their education including and academic education and integration in the workforce.”
The secretary general of the haredi yeshiva union has previously been quoted as saying that “the Education Ministry is closing its eyes. From our point of view there’s a seminary that’s comparable to a high school education. The girls take external exams, just like the Bagrut.
“Haredi (education) institutions receive high scores on international tests because the girls study day and night, they have no distractions. We don’t complete the Bagrut exams for the known reason that we don’t want others to interfere in our content and methods. Thank God our level of education is very good.”