OECD: Israel has most crowded classrooms
Positive vs. negative: Report shows Israel has more students relative to its population than almost any other OECD country. But Israeli schools lag behind OECD counterparts in investment per student. Teachers work less hours, earn lower salaries, classrooms most crowded
An OECD report released on Wednesday for the 2010-2011 academic year shows that Israel has a highly educated populace, with more students within its ranks than almost any other OECD nation.
At the same time, however, Israel comes out near the bottom of the list when it comes to the number of students per classroom; additionally, Israeli teachers’ salaries were found to be much lower than those of their counterparts in other OECD nations.
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According to the report, Israel has one of the highest rates of students among its general population, in comparison to other OECD countries. Israel ranked second with 29.7% compared to a 22% average in other OECD nations.
The teachers in Israel are younger, with 53% under 39-years-old, compared to 41% in other OECD countries. Israel is also number one in the West in the growth rate for teacher’s wages in elementary and middle schools, in local currency terms.
The findings of the report indicate that, unsurprisingly, the percentage of teachers in Israel is significantly higher at all stages of education. This phenomenon exists in most OECD countries, but within Israel – especially in the primary education phase – the phenomenon is more pronounced. The percentage of male teachers in the system goes up as the stage of education is higher.
But there is a challenge to having such a high population of students. According to the report, in the average Israeli elementary school classroom, there are 27 students. This compares with 21.2 students in other OECD countries. It leaves Israel at 25th place out of 27 countries.
In Israeli middle schools, class size has decreased significantly in recent years, from 32.2 pupils per class in 2009 to 28.7 students in 2011, compared to a 23.3 OECD average. Yet here Israel again is low on the list, finding itself in 22nd place out of 25.
Data from 2011 indicate that the number of teaching hours per teacher in primary education in Israel is higher than in other OECD countries (842 versus 790), but lower in junior high (614 versus 709) and high schools (521 versus 664). In terms of the number of hours the teacher is present, Israeli teachers instruct less than teachers in most of the OECD countries, at all stages of the educational lifecycle.
Also, teachers' salary in Israel is significantly lower – a teacher’s salary in Israel for primary education is 71% of the average teacher salary in other OECD countries.
Additionally, the report showed that in pre-school, primary and secondary education, the state’s average dollar expenditure per student in 2010 was lower than in the OECD countries. The pre-school average expenditure per pupil was approximately $17,516 which compared with the OECD average of approximately $30,293.
For primary education in Israel, the number was approximately $25,795, compared with $35,723 of other OECD member nations. The secondary education average in Israel was $25,159, compared to the OECD average of $40,382.
The data also showed that teachers in Israel give less classroom time than the OECD average. In 2011, the Israeli primary school teacher was present for 1,165 hours, compared to 1,215 average hours in OECD countries. Within middle schools, the average Israeli teacher's hours in the classroom stood at 874, compared to 1,219 in OECD countries. In high schools, the hours were even lower, with 700 in Israel, compared with the average 1,154 hours in OECD member nations.
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