Israeli classrooms crowded by 5.5 more students than other OECD countries

The OECD published its annual education report painting a grim picture for Israel. Despite the increase in teachers’ salaries, the differences range between 16% in kindergartens to 42% in high schools. The average Israeli classroom has 26.8 students in comparison to 21 students in other developed countries.
Israeli teachers at the bottom of the list Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90

The OECD published its annual report today (Tuesday) comparing the education systems within its member countries. The report indicates that despite the increase in Israeli teachers’ salaries, the country still remains at the bottom of the list. Furthermore, the report suggests that Israel is lagging behind other countries regarding overcrowded classrooms.

The report’s abstract released by the Israeli Education Ministry expresses pride in the fact that Israeli teachers’ salaries rose by 15% to 38% compared to 2% to 7% in other OECD countries. However, Israeli teachers’ annual wages are still significantly below the average within those countries. The most obvious difference is in high school teachers’ wages where in Israel, teachers earn an annual $27,036 in comparison to $46,631 within developed countries. The report’s salary data only takes full-time jobs into account, despite the fact that a majority of Israeli teachers do not reach full-time status even if they work at multiple schools.

Another subject receiving much criticism in Israel is overcrowded classrooms. Elementary school classrooms in Israel are more crowded by 27% with an average of 26.8 students compared to an average of 21.1 students in other OECD countries. Israeli middle schools average in at 28 students per classroom compared to 23.3 in other OECD countries, a difference of 20%. It is important to note that the numbers refer to data prior to the Israeli reform attempting to lower the classroom’s maximum capacity.



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