For the second year in a row, the Galilee Druze town of Beit Jann beat other localities in Israel to achieve the highest rates of students passing the high school matriculation exam in 2015, according to figures released Monday.
According to the Education Ministry, 99 percent of students in Beit Jann received their Bagrut, or graduation certificates last school year, up 4.6% from 2014, and 7% from 2013.
The Arab village of Abu al-Hija, outside Karmiel, came in second nationwide with a 98% success rate, followed by Kiryat Ekron at 96%, and Givat Shmuel and Kedumim with 93%.
Among Israel’s bigger cities, Rishon Lezion led the way with 77%; followed by Haifa with 76%; Tel Aviv and Beersheba at 70%; and, way below, Jerusalem, with 47%.
Unsurprisingly, predominantly ultra-Orthodox communities and some poorer Arab towns had the lowest percentage of students passing the matriculation exams.
The ultra-Orthodox towns of Modiin Illit, in the West Bank, and Kiryat Ye’arim (Telz-Stone), outside Jerusalem, had the lowest overall rates with an unprecedented 0% pass rate. For Modiin Illit, the 2015 score marked a 3.7% drop from figures recorded the previous year.
In Bnei Brak, a mostly ultra-Orthodox city in central Israel, only 11% of students passed the exams, though the meager showing was a slight improvement from its 10% pass rate in 2015.
The comparatively low figures are in part due to minimal high school attendance rates in Israel’s ultra-Orthodox communities.
Doing slightly better, with a 15% pass rate, was the northern Arab village of Jisr al-Zarqa. There, approximately one-third of the local residents are unemployed, crime rates are among the highest in Israel, and the percentage of high school dropouts is among the highest in the country.
The Education Ministry released the statistics ahead of the start of the 2016-2017 school year on Thursday.