Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel: Education a...

Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel: Education and Employment Among Young Arab Israelis

Fuchs, Hadas. The State of the Nation Report 2017 | Dec 2017


Abstract Recent years have seen a significant improvement in the level of education of Arab Israelis at all schooling levels. This chapter focuses on the changes that have taken place at the high school level (the bagrut certificate) and in higher education (the psychometric exam and academic studies) and presents a status report on the education and employment of young Arab Israelis, distinguishing between the various population groups. Arab Israeli women in all groups have greatly improved their level of education. They are qualifying for bagrut certificates at higher rates than previously, both in relation to Jewish women and in relation to Arab Israeli men, and many of them study in science tracks. The share of Arab Israeli women pursuing higher education has also significantly increased, especially among Druze and Bedouin women, who in the past were less likely to attend college. After controlling for socioeconomic characteristics, Arab Israeli women were found to be more successful than expected given their background. At the same time, a very large number of Arab Israeli women continue to study education and pursue employment in this field, even though the labor market is saturated and it is difficult for graduates to find full-time work. In order to balance the market, there is a need to direct female students toward other fields, to increase the supply of jobs, and to create support mechanisms for women who work in fields that are not considered classic “women’s work.” In contrast, less improvement has been seen among Arab Israeli men. The share of young men qualifying for a bagrut certificate has risen, but less than among Jews, and thus the gap has grown to the advantage of Jewish men. At older ages, the situation becomes worse, and there has been almost no change in the share of students qualifying for a degree. These figures are especially low among the Bedouin population. Nevertheless, there has been a substantial rise in the share of men studying computer science and engineering, fields that open the door to high-paying professions. The employment rates of Arab Israeli college graduates are high. Their income is similar to that of Jewish college graduates in the fields of health and education, but lower than their Jewish counterparts in business and high tech. In other words, it appears that in the latter fields, Arab Israeli college graduates have still not achieved optimal integration into the labor market.

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