Druze town places third in matriculation exam pass rates

Beit Jann trails only central towns of Shoham and Kochav Yair; ultra-Orthodox and Arab students record lowest test averages

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative photo of an Israeli classroom (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of an Israeli classroom (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

The northern Israeli Druze village of Beit Jann recorded the third-highest percentage of students passing the country’s high school matriculation exams, according to figures released Sunday. The result placed the village alongside the affluent central Israeli communities of Kochav Yair and Shoham.

According to a report issued by the Ministry of Education, 85 percent of Beit Jann’s high school graduates passed the matriculation exams — known in Israel as Bagruyot — a figure almost 700% higher than was recorded in the town 13 years ago. The passing rate rose by 15% in comparison to the previous year.

In Kochav Yair, which topped the ministry’s list, just over 90 percent of high school graduates passed the exams. In Shoham, the passing rate was 88 percent.

Predominantly ultra-Orthodox and Arab communities had the lowest percentage of students passing the matriculation exams.

Modiin Illit, an ultra-Orthodox town in the West Bank, had the lowest overall rates, with only 9 percent of students successfully passing the exams. The result represented an almost 2 percent drop from figures recorded last year.

In Bnei Brak, a central Israeli city populated mainly by ultra-Orthodox residents, only 10 percent of students passed the exams.

In the Arab communities of Yarka and Jisr al-Zarqa the rates were 36 and 27.63 percent, respectively.

The ministry found that 66.6% of Jewish Israeli high school students, excluding those educated in ultra-Orthodox schools, succeeded in passing the matriculation exams.

Relatively low pass rates were recorded in Jerusalem, with only 42.65% of students making the grade. It should be noted that 43% of the students in the nation’s capital are enrolled in ultra-Orthodox schools and another 33% study in high schools in the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.

In general, wealthier towns and communities saw an average of about 70 percent success rates this past year, while the average passing rate in towns with lower socioeconomic rankings was only 53.6 percent.

After the release of the report, the Ministry of Education issued a statement saying that it plans to reduce the socioeconomic education gap by increasing the budget for low-income student scholarships by NIS 100 million and including ultra-Orthodox schools within the public education system.

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