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Israel - Education and Schools

In Israel education is compulsory for 11 years. There are no fees to pay for those children aged between 5 and 15. There are 6 years of primary education followed by secondary education. The system in Israel is now much more uniform, after many years of separate schools which were determined by the child’s religion and class background. There are still different types of schools but they are administered now by a central body. There are public Jewish schools and public schools which are not based on any religion. There are also public schools for Arab children and private schools which are often run by Christian organisations. No school is permitted to exclude a child on the basis of its faith.

Jewish schools teach in Hebrew, in Arab schools the language is Arabic. Each language is also taught in the other schools as a subject and children will also learn English. Instruction in other languages will depend upon the school. Most schools are subsidised by the state and the Israeli government spends a great deal of money on education each year.

There are 8 universities in Israel based in cities such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. There is also an Open University which has been designed in a similar way to the British OU and which focuses on adult learning.

Subjects which are compulsory include the aforementioned languages and religious education is compulsory in faith schools. Maths and sciences are also taught to all students along with history and geography. Modern subjects such as information technology are also becoming more common.

Children study for public examinations known as Bagrut at the end of their time in high school. Without these examinations study at university will not be possible.

The quality of teaching staff in the country suffered for a number of years due to the low pay. Many have left the country to work abroad for better paid work. Teachers are only allowed to take up teaching positions in the country if they are suitably qualified.

For the children of expats the secular schools or private schools are usually used, although there is no reason they cannot be enrolled in a Hebrew or Arab school if you prefer. There are international schools which offer a different curriculum if you prefer your children to obtain international qualifications. Entry is not just a matter of filling out forms though, and each child will be assessed to ensure that they are suitable candidates.

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