Today's Gaps are Tomorrow's Obstacles

A large performance gap between Jewish and Arab students is evident in recent PISA and "Mitzav" results. The poor performance of Arab students threatens Israel's national competitiveness and economic resilience

OECD students' performance in math, reading, and science, as measured by the PISA examinations, were published this week.

Israeli students perform poorly. Moreover, there are large performances gaps between Jewish and Arab students. Jewish students rank higher than their Arab counterparts in math (39th vs. 53rd), reading (37th vs. 54th) and science (39th vs. 50th).

Recent scores in the Education Ministry's "Meitzav" test reveal similar gaps between Jewish and Arab students in science & technology, math, and English.

Today's gaps hamper Israel's ability to become one of the 15 leading countries in terms of quality of life by weakening:

  • Economic resilience - Human capital is the key to economic resilience. Poor performance in math, reading, and science reduce the chances of acquiring higher education and increase the chances of low-paid work. The recent test results threaten the economic resilience of the Israeli Arab sector and increase the need for future government support.

  • National Competitiveness - High quality human capital is Israel's comparative advantage. The poor performance of Arab students will lead to fewer science and technology graduates. This trend will decrease Israel's advantage in innovation and sophistication.

Sources

O.Kashti, Haaretz, 12/05/2007 (Hebrew Only)

M. Zelikovich, Ynet, 11/28/2008 (Hebrew Only)