Israel ranks high in college graduates, low in teachers’ salaries
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Israel ranks high in college graduates, low in teachers’ salaries

OECD report reveals Israelis are highly educated, but country lags in primary and secondary school development

Illustrative photo of second-graders at the Janusz Korczak school in Jerusalem (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of second-graders at the Janusz Korczak school in Jerusalem (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

Israel has the second-highest percentage of adults with a post-high school degree among member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), according to an OECD report on education released Tuesday.

The Education at a Glance 2012 study revealed that 46 percent of Israeli adults have a university degree, the second-highest percentage after Canada, which boasts a rate of 51%. The OECD average is 31%.

In Russia, which isn’t an OECD nation, 54% of adults have obtained a higher degree.

Israel also has a very high percentage of high school graduates, standing at 92% in 2010, as compared to the OECD average of 84%.

However, salaries for high school and elementary school teachers remain low. An elementary school teacher with a college degree and 15 years’ experience receives an average annual salary of little more than $20,000, well below the OECD average of $40,000 and just behind Chile and Mexico. The average salary for an Israeli high school teacher is around $25,000.

According to an analysis in the Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth, teachers’ salaries were only half the OECD average despite a significant rise in recent years, with elementary school teachers’ salaries up 32% and high school teachers’ pay up 8% since 2005.

Class sizes remain large, with an average of 28 students in an elementary school class and 30 in a high school class, ranking Israel fourth in terms of class size.

Israeli teachers average around 600 hours a year in the classroom (800 or more for elementary school teachers), well behind countries like the United States, which sees teachers in the classroom for more than 1,000 hours a year, but comparable to Korea, Japan and Finland.

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