Compared with Jewish students, Palestinian Arab students are more likely to drop out of school, less likely to pass the matriculation examinations (bagrut), and less likely to qualify for university admission if they do pass. Among Palestinian Arabs, these differences are much greater for Negev Bedouin.
Human Rights Watch recognizes that what determines a child's educational achievement is complex, and this report does not attempt to tackle every factor or to identify all causes of poor performance. In addition to discrimination documented by this report, factors within the Palestinian Arab community70 as well as lower returns on, or benefits from, education for Palestinian Arabs also play a role.71 However, these factors, too, are arguably indirect consequences of a legacy of discrimination. For example, students who benefit less from academic credentials have less incentive to acquire them.
Nevertheless, that discrimination affects academic performance is indisputable.72 The link is particularly evident when programs designed to improve performance and decrease dropping out are implemented in a discriminatory manner. The government has used low academic performance among certain groups of Jewish children to justify additional programs and resources for those students without providing equal assistance to Palestinian Arab students similarly or worse situated.
Palestinian Arabs drop out of school at a younger average age and at a much higher rate than Jewish students. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Israel has ratified, obligates states to "take measures to encourage regular attendance and the reduction of drop-out rates."73 As described below, the measures that Israel has taken, such as providing truant officers, counseling, and vocational education, have been on average less available to Palestinian Arab students than to Jewish students.
In the 1998-1999 school year, the most recent year for which complete figures are available,10.4 percent of Jewish seventeen-year-olds had dropped out of school. In contrast, 31.7 percent of seventeen-year-old Palestinian Arabs had dropped out.74
Table 1: Drop-Out Rates 1998-1999 [update]
Source: CBS, Statistical Abstract of Israel 2000, no. 51, table 22.12.
For example, by age fourteen, usually the first year of high school, 7.4 percent of Palestinian Arabs had dropped out, compared with 0.3 percent of Jewish students. Of students in the ninth through twelfth grades from the 1998-1999 to 1999-2000 school years, 11.8 percent of Palestinian Arab students dropped out, including 24.8 percent of ninth grade Palestinian Arab boys. In contrast, 4.8 percent of Jewish students, including 8.1 percent of ninth grade boys, dropped out during the same period.75 Education is compulsory in Israel through grade ten (age fifteen).
Palestinian Arab students also score lower, on average, on national examinations. Fourth, sixth, and eighth grade students take national examinations in math, English, and science. In each of these areas, Jewish pupils average higher scores than Palestinian Arab pupils.76 This is true even when scores are assessed in accordance with the government's own index of educational disadvantage (see below).77
The most important series of tests, however, are the matriculation examinations (bagrut), which students must pass to receive an academic or vocational certificate (high school diploma), or to attend a university. Although fewer Palestinian Arab students make it to the twelfth grade, those who do make it take the matriculation examinations at roughly the same rate as Jewish students. However, Palestinian Arab examinees are more likely to fail the examinations and, even if they pass, are less likely to meet the standards for university admittance.78
Source: Ministry of Education, "Statistics of the Matriculation Examination (Bagrut) 2000 Report," http://www.netvision.net.il/bagrut/netunim2000.htm (accessed on May 10, 2001), pp. 5, 7, 45.79
For example, 43.4 percent of Palestinian Arab students who took the matriculation exams passed, compared with 63.0 percent of Jewish students. Of those passing students, 66.9 percent of Palestinian Arab students achieved the minimum scores needed for university admission, compared with 88.6 percent of Jewish students. This left only 18.4 percent of Palestinian Arab seventeen-year-olds, compared with 40.4 percent of Jewish seventeen-year-olds, eligible to attend a university in 2000. And of those with minimum passing scores, Jewish students averaged higher scores.80 Matriculation exam scores determine a student's eligibility to major (specialize) in particular subjects at university, such as law, engineering, or medicine. Thus, Jewish students were, on average, eligible for more majors than Palestinian Arab students were.
Over 40 percent of all students fail because they are missing a mandatory subject. Over half of Palestinian Arab students who fail because they lack one subject fail because they lack English.81 Kamal G., a recent university graduate and Negev Bedouin, told Human Rights Watch:
Palestinian Arab students learn English as a third language after Arabic and Hebrew, while Jewish students learn it as a second language.Many subjects I had to do the bagrut in I didn't have in school, so I had to go home and study at home so I would be able to have an academic education. For example, my school taught three units of English but the university required four, so I had to complete one unit by myself. I stayed home for one year to study for the fourth unit.82
The differences in performance on the matriculation examinations were reflected in Human Rights Watch's interviews at schools. Expectations at government-run Arab schools were generally low. The director of an Arab vocational school told us that very few of his students would take the exams. Out of about 800 students, the school had set a goal that the top sixty would take the exams, and he expected ten to fifteen students to pass, that is, 17 to 25 percent of expected examinees, and less than 2 percent of all 800 students.83
In contrast, the principal of a Jewish secondary school with a high immigrant population told Human Rights Watch that he hoped that 60 to 70 percent of his students would pass in 2001, although he later said that this was a high estimate. "We know the strengths and weaknesses of each student, and we give them help," he explained. "School is open in the afternoon, and we work with pupils."84
Recognized but unofficial secondary schools run by Christian religious organizations are perceived to offer a better quality of education to Palestinian Arabs in cities such as Haifa and Nazareth. Indeed, the principal of a missionary high school in Nazareth told Human Rights Watch that 116 out of 118 students who took the matriculation examinations the previous year passed them.85 However, these schools do not exist in all areas with significant Palestinian Arab populations, particularly the Triangle region and the Negev in southern Israel, and educate only about 5 percent of all Palestinian Arab students.86 Manal M., from a village in the Triangle region, told us that she had tried sending her younger daughter to a missionary high school in Nazareth. "She had to get up at 5:30 in the morning and returned at 5:30 at night and then had to do her homework," she said. "We decided that she would come back and learn near our house."87
Many Palestinian Arab students and teachers told us they saw the psychometric exam, an aptitude test that is required to apply to university, even more than the bagrut, as a barrier to attending university or to majoring in the most rewarding or prestigious subjects. A Bedouin university student explained, "I wanted to study law but my psychometric exam score was too low. This was the barrier. I really admire lawyers."88 Instead, he majored in psychology and sociology.
Several university students also complained about the exam's translation from Hebrew to Arabic.89 A tenth-grade girl told us that she saw the exam as an "obstacle," and that she believed that she would encounter problems in the exam's translation to Arabic.90 An English teacher who was also the parent of three high school students explained:
Nabil R., a university student, told us:The students are not sufficiently prepared, especially for the psychometric. It is translated from Hebrew and sometimes the translation is wrong. Sometimes the words are unknown to the pupils. Many of them fail and can't go to university. They have the ability and the bagrut, but this test makes them fail. The ministry puts it as a stone in front of students and denies some a chance to learn in the university.91
Nadia S., an eleventh-grade student, told us that while she hoped to attend a university,I specialized in computers [in high school] and wanted to do it in university, but my score on the psychometric exam was insufficient. My bagrut score was fine-the psychometric exam was the barrier. This serves as the main barrier. The exam is translated to Arabic and the translation, especially for reading comprehension, is not so good. I see a big difference between Jewish and Arab schools.92
At the time of writing, the Knesset Education Committee was considering proposals to eliminate or provide alternatives to the psychometric exam.94I don't know what subjects [I will study] because I know that there are difficulties for Arabs. For example, the psychometric exam is so difficult-the reason is to decrease the numbers of Arab students. I hear it is so difficult-the way they ask us is the Jewish way. I am doing a preparation course after school, but I don't think it is enough. I go for four to five hours one day a week. We do practice questions, and they show us the quick and easy way.93
Overall, Palestinian Arab students are less likely than Jewish students to continue with post-secondary education of any kind and, in particular, to study at a university. Out of a group of 1990-1991 high school graduates followed by the Central Bureau for Statistics until 1997-1998, 45.8 percent of Jews began some form of post-secondary education, compared with 26.0 percent of non-Jews.95 Post secondary education includes a thirteenth and fourteenth grade, technological training institutes, teacher training colleges, academic colleges, and universities.96
As explained in the previous section, Palestinian Arabs are less likely to obtain the minimum score on the matriculation examinations needed to apply to a university. However, even achieving the minimum qualifying score does not guarantee university admission. Rather, the student's secondary school classes and scores on the matriculation and psychometric exams are all factors in whether a student will be admitted. Palestinian Arab applicants are rejected at more than twice the rate of Jewish applicants.
Source: CBS, Statistical Abstract of Israel 2000, no. 51, table 22.37.
While 44.7 percent of non-Jewish applicants who applied to university were rejected and 41.2 percent were accepted and went on to study, 16.7 percent of Jewish applicants were rejected and 65.1 percent went on to study.
In the 1998-1999 school year, fewer than 9 percent of university students seeking a first degree were not Jewish and only 5.7 percent of degree recipients were not Jewish.99
Source: CBS, Statistical Abstract of Israel 2000, no. 51, tables 22.34, 22.39.
It should be noted that other factors outside of this report's scope, especially advantages for military service such as grants for higher education or, in some cases, partial or total exemptions from university tuition, affect university attendance and academic performance there.102 While Jewish students typically begin mandatory military service after twelfth grade, most Palestinian Arab students do not serve in the military.103 In addition, fewer than 1 percent of lecturers at Israeli universities are Arab.104
One generation's failure to obtain higher education also negatively affects the next generation's education by depressing the family's socio-economic status and by limiting their teachers' educational qualifications.
Discrimination in education hurts students' abilities to get rewarding and well-paying jobs. Unemployment is greater among Palestinian Arabs than it is among Jews. Overall, according to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate in 1999 was 11.4 percent for Palestinian Arabs and 8.5 percent for Jews.106 However, the Central Bureau of Statistics' definition of "unemployed" arguably underestimates the unemployment rate among Palestinian Arabs.107 More accurate may be data on persons who "do not work" and "do not study." In 1999, about 42 percent of Palestinian Arabs ages twenty-five to thirty-four did not work and did not study, compared with about 24 percent of Jews of the same age; for persons ages fifteen to seventeen, 14.3 percent of Palestinian Arabs and 5.5 percent of Jews did not work or study.108 Of persons ages eighteen to twenty-four, the age at which most Jews and a few Palestinian Arabs complete military service, 42.1 percent of Palestinian Arabs did not work or study, compared with 43.6 percent of Jews.109 However, soldiers on compulsory military service or in the permanent army are included in those not working or studying.110[M]any human rights can only be accessed through education, particularly rights associated with employment and social security. Without education, people are impeded from access to employment. Lower educational accomplishment routinely prejudices their career advancement. Lower salaries negatively affect their old-age security.
In addition, returns on education-benefits from academic credentials-affect students' incentive and motivation to pursue education. One return on education is employment. Job opportunities for educated Palestinian Arabs in Israel are more limited due to employment discrimination and the fact that certain labor markets, such as the military-industrial complex and many government jobs, are closed to them.111 In January and February 2001, 30 percent (3,895) of Palestinian Arabs registered at employment service offices as unemployed professional and academic job seekers held advanced degrees.112 The director of an Arab vocational school told Human Rights Watch: "The Arab sector is not really open-there aren't really job opportunities-so Arab students choose to get practical jobs like in a garage rather than in art or cinema." The school's graduates, he said, tend to work as "carpenters, machinists, or mechanics in a garage."113
Some argue that one reason for Palestinian Arabs' lower academic performance is that their culture does not value educating girls. In the past, this has been an issue, and by many reports it is still an issue among Bedouin, particularly for higher education. However, cultural attitudes cannot shoulder much of the blame. If this were still the case, Palestinian Arab girls should be performing at lower rates than boys, driving down the average. They are not. Palestinian Arab girls on average outperform boys on the matriculation examinations. In 1999, 56.9 percent of Palestinian Arab girls who took the exams passed them, compared with 46.4 percent of boys.114
Nationally, Palestinian Arab girls are also less likely than boys to drop out. Between the 1998-1999 and 1999-2000 school years, 53.1 percent of Palestinian Arab twelfth graders were girls.115 And in every grade, nine through twelve, Palestinian Arab boys dropped out at higher rates than girls.116 However, during the same period, only 47.7 percent of Palestinian Arab ninth graders were girls,117 suggesting that while girls are slightly less likely to make the transition to high school, those who do are more likely than boys to stay in. This is true for Bedouin girls, as well as Palestinian Arab girls nationally.118
One possible explanation for this fact is that there are fewer high schools and, thus, students are more likely to have to travel farther to reach them. Travel distance appears to disproportionately cause girls to drop out. A Bedouin teacher who recently graduated from university told us that he has six brothers and one sister. All the brothers finished high school, but the sister did not: "The long distance between home and school makes it difficult for a girl to walk alone in the desert. She preferred to stay at home after eighth grade. She is eighteen years old now."119 As explained below in the section on school buildings, many Bedouin living in unrecognized villages in the Negev must travel long distances even to reach a primary school, and attendance rates among Bedouin are lower for girls.120 According to a study of Bedouin mothers' attitudes towards their children's education, Bedouin girls and women "were (and continue to be) considered the `bearers of the family honor,' and thus, their families preferred not to risk their reputations by allowing girls to travel among and mix with males from other tribes. Therefore, there has been much more reluctance among the Bedouin over sending their daughters to school than over sending their sons to school, especially when schools were far away."121 Of 305 women surveyed from 1991-1992 about their daughters finishing high school, 80.7 percent wanted their daughters to finish, although of those surveyed, 24.9 percent stated that financial barriers, the fact that their extended families did not allow girls to finish high school, and the fact that schools were too far away would prevent their daughters from finishing.122
International law affords special protection for women and girls against discrimination in education.123
Negev Bedouin drop out of school at higher rates than Palestinian Arabs. If they make it to the twelfth grade, they are less likely to pass the matriculation exam and, if they do pass, to qualify for university admission: in 2000, only 6.4 percent of Bedouin students who took the exam had bagrut scores that met minimum university requirements for admission. Of the Bedouin students who have met minimum university requirements, only a tiny handful have actually attended and graduated.Every time we meet professors or are invited to meet family, everyone is shocked at how we can get an education while coming from such a bad economic situation.
The majority of Bedouin students who go to university attend Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Be'er Sheva.124 In 2000-2001, 344 Bedouin students total were enrolled at Ben Gurion University, of whom 120 were women, and twenty-two were graduate students. In 2001, forty-seven Bedouin students, including fourteen women, graduated-the most of any year at the university.125
Source: Ministry of Education, "Statistics of the Matriculation Examination (Bagrut) 2000 Report," http://www.netvision.net.il/bagrut/netunim2000.htm (accessed on May 10, 2001), pp. 5, 7, 45.
It is sometimes argued that the differences between Jewish and Palestinian Arab students' performance is more a function of family income than discrimination. For example, the Israeli government reported to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2001 that "the socio-economic differences among sectors, coupled with the relative homogeneity of schools, has led to gaps in achievements among different groups."126 Dalia Sprinzak, of the Education Ministry's Economics and Budgeting Administration, explained that she thought that poverty would always be a barrier to closing the gap. "It is a big problem because the Arabs are poor," she said. "This is also an issue in the Jewish sector."127
Clearly economic class affects educational performance. Low income Jewish children, particularly those in outlying areas, experience some of the same performance problems as Palestinian Arab children. However, the Israeli government has directed more resources to low income and low performing Jewish children than it has to similarly situated Palestinian Arab children.128 Indeed, the argument is circular in that discrimination perpetuates class differences.
The strongest evidence against the claim that income, exclusive of discrimination, is at play is that when Jewish and Palestinian Arab children of the same economic level are compared, the Jewish children appear to out-perform the Palestinian Arab children. Although the data that Human Rights Watch was able to gather are incomplete, it appears that Jewish children on average still drop out at lower rates and perform better on national examinations than Palestinian Arab children at the same economic level.129 For example, according to news reports, between 1991 and 1998, 13 percent of students in development towns who passed the matriculation examinations went on to university, compared with 5 percent of students in Palestinian Arab localities.130
70 For a detailed analysis of internal factors that affect Palestinian Arabs' performance, see Khalil Rinnawi, "Structural Obstacles to Education amongst the Palestinian Minority in Israel," Israel Equality Monitor, no. 6, March 1996. Rinnawi concludes that along with discrimination, factors within the Palestinian Arab community that affect achievement include: teacher's status; teaching methods; relations among the school, the municipality, and the Ministry of Education; parental attitudes toward education; and, especially, tracking. Ibid. Among Negev Bedouin, low parental involvement, low economic status, the marginality of Bedouin society in Israel, lack of Bedouin representation at high levels in the Ministry of Education, and "the absence of any official encouragement" contribute to high drop-out rates. Abu-Rabiyya, "Survey of Bedouin Schools in the Negev," pp. 7-8.
71 Swirski, Politics and Education in Israel, p. 220 (discussing low returns on education for Palestinian Arabs); Human Rights Watch interview with Andre Elias Mazawi, senior lecturer and head of the Sociology of Education Program, School of Education, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, November 30, 2000.
72 See, for example, Victor Lavy, "Disparities between Arabs and Jews in School Resources and Students' Achievement in Israel," Economic Development and Cultural Change, vol. 47, no. 1, October 1998 (finding that the gaps between resources allocated by the central government to Jewish and Arab schools "is a major cause for the poor performance of Arab primary school children in cognitive achievement tests in arithmetics [sic] and reading comprehension relative to the performance of Jewish school children. The gap in resources is augmented by a much lower socioeconomic status of the Arab population[.]").
73 Convention on the Rights of the Child, art. 28(1)(d), (e), adopted November 20, 1989, G.A. Res. 44/55, U.N. Doc. A/RES/44/25 (entered into force September 2, 1990, and ratified by Israel October 3, 1991).
74 Data exclude East Jerusalem. CBS, Statistical Abstract of Israel 2000, table 22.12. Attendance rates include students at all grade levels. For example, five out of every 1,000 Jewish seventeen-year-olds and six out of every 1,000 Palestinian Arab seventeen-year-olds were enrolled in primary education in 1998-1999. Ibid. The Ministry of Education reported that in the 1999-2000 school year, 83.0 percent of Jewish seventeen-year-olds and 71.2 percent of Palestinian Arab seventeen-year-olds (excluding East Jerusalem seventeen-year-olds) were enrolled in the twelfth grade. It did not report how many seventeen-year-olds were enrolled in other grades. Ministry of Education, "Statistics of the Matriculation Examination (Bagrut) 2000 Report," p. 5.
76 See Daphna Golan, Chair, Committee for Closing the Gap, Pedagogical Secretariat, Ministry of Education, Closing the Gaps in Arab Education in Israel: Data About Hebrew-Arab Education; Recommendations of the Committee for Closing the Gap; Protocol of the Meeting of the Directorship, December 13, 2000, December 2000, p. 5.
98 CBS, Statistical Abstract of Israel 2000, table 22.37. The applications were for the first year of studies for a first (undergraduate) degree only. These data are derived from percentages given in table 22.37. The same table also states that 7,537 applicants our of 35,040 were rejected, of whom 70.6 percent were Jewish and 29.4 percent were "other religions." By these figures, 17.6 percent of Jewish applicants were rejected and 46.8 percent of non-Jewish applicants were rejected.
99 CBS, Statistical Abstract of Israel 2000, table 22.34. Only 3.5 percent of students seeking a second (graduate) degree and only 2.4 percent of second degree recipients were non-Jewish in 1998-1999. Ibid., tables 22.34, 22.39.
103 Jewish men and women, and Druze and Circassian men are subject to compulsory military service, and some Bedouin also serve. Persons studying in religious institutions can receive a deferment from military service, and Jewish orthodox woman can receive an exemption. All other Palestinian Arab citizens have been exempted since Israel's establishment as a state.
104 Vered Levy-Barzilai, "Know thy neighbor - but don't hire him," Ha'aretz Magazine (Israel), July 12, 2001. Ten of 1,500 lecturers at Tel Aviv University are Arab; at Bar-Ilan University, three of 1,300 lecturers are Arab; at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, there are ten Arab lecturers; at the University of Haifa, it is estimated that about fifteen to twenty lecturers are Arab; and at Hebrew University, the faculty estimates the number to be less than ten. Ibid.
107 Unemployed persons are defined as those ages fifteen and over who "did not work at all during the determinant week (even for a single hour), and actively sought work during the preceding four weeks by registering at the Labor Exchanges of the Employment Service . . . and would have been available to start work during the determinate week." Those over fifteen-years-old who do not work but do not meet the above definition are not considered part of the civilian labor force and, therefore, are not counted as unemployed. Ibid., p. 69. The Central Bureau of Statistics counts 42.5 percent of the non-Jewish population, compared with 53.8 percent of the total population of Israel, as part of the civilian labor force. Ibid., table 12.1. Moreover, soldiers doing compulsory military service or in the permanent army and students are not considered part of the civilian labor force. Ibid., p. 69. If persons in the army, who are almost entirely Jewish, were counted, there would be an even greater difference between the percent of the Jewish population counted as part of the civilian labor force, compared with the Palestinian Arab population. Accordingly, it may be argued the 11.4 percent figure underestimates the unemployment rate among Palestinian Arabs.
108 Of Palestinian Arabs ages twenty-five to twenty-nine, 43.0 percent did not work or study in 1999, compared with 22.9 percent of Jews. Of Palestinian Arabs ages thirty to thirty-four, 42.4 percent did not work or study in 1999, compared with 24.5 percent of Jews. Ibid., table 12.17.
111 Swirski, Politics and Education in Israel, p. 220 (discussing low returns on education for Palestinian Arabs); Human Rights Watch interview with Andre Elias Mazawi, senior lecturer and head of the Sociology of Education Program, School of Education, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, November 30, 2000.
120 In 1998-1999, in both recognized and unrecognized Bedouin localities in the Negev, less than half of the students in grades one through nine were girls. Center for Bedouin Studies and Development, Statistical Yearbook of the Negev Bedouin, pp. 76, 80.
121 Ismael Abu-Saad, Kathleen Abu-Saad, Gillian Lewando-Hundt, Michele R. Forman, Ilana Belmaker, Heinz W. Berendes, and David Chang, "Bedouin Arab Mothers' Aspirations for Their Children's Education in the Context of Radical Social Change," International Journal of Educational Development, vol. 18, no. 4, 1998, p. 351 (internal citations omitted).
122 Ibid., pp. 353, 355, table 2. It should be noted that there was no difference in responses from mothers who lived in recognized and unrecognized settlements. The authors conclude that the data do not support the hypothesis "that the planned towns would lead to a social change in relation to girls' education, given the easier access to schools." Ibid., p. 357.
take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in order to ensure them equal rights with men in the field of education and in particular to ensure, on the basis of equality of men and women: (a) The same conditions . . . for access to studies and for the achievement of diplomas in educational establishments of all categories in rural as well as in urban areas; this equality shall be ensured in preschool, general, technical, professional and higher technical education, as well as in all types of vocational training; . . . (f) the reduction of female student drop-out rates[.]Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), art. 10, adopted December 18, 1979, G.A. Res. 34/180, U.N. Doc. A/34/46 (entered into force September 3, 1981, and ratified by Israel October 3, 1991). The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights each provide for a right to education and specify that this right must be enjoyed without discrimination on the basis of gender. Convention on the Rights of the Child, arts. 2, 28; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), arts. 2, 13, adopted December 16, 1966, G.A. Res. 2200A (XXI), 993 U.N.T.S. 3 (entered into force January 2, 1976, and ratified by Israel October 3, 1991).
127 Although Sprinzak did not state that poverty was the only cause of the current gaps between Jewish and Palestinian Arab students, she did say that she thought it was an important one. Human Rights Watch interview with Dalia Sprinzak, Economics and Budgeting Administration, Ministry of Education, Jerusalem, December 19, 2000.
129 See Ministry of Justice, Initial Periodic Report, p. 266 (reporting that in 1993, 81 percent of "lower class" and 99 percent of "middle and upper class" Jewish students ages fifteen to eighteen attended school, compared with 59 percent of lower class and 81 percent of middle and upper class Palestinian Arabs and 31 percent of lower class Bedouin); Golan, Closing the Gaps in Arab Education in Israel, p. 5 (results of national math, English, and science exams in the fourth, sixth, and eighth grades by sector and economic level); and CBS, Statistical Abstract of Israel 2000, table 22.21 (matriculation exam results by sector and socio-economic cluster of locality of residence; however, 10.6 percent of Jewish twelfth graders and 8.4 percent of Palestinian Arab twelfth graders are not classified).
A study of 1999 bagrut pass rates in localities with more than 10,000 residents found that:
In all but two (Kafr Qari' and 'Ar'ara) of the Arab localities, the percentage of students passing the exams was lower than the national average. The lowest percentage was in Umm el Fahm [14%]. In 'Ar'ara, the level was 42% of the age cohort (in other words, only slightly above the national average). In 15 of the 21 Jewish development towns included in Table 1, the rate of success in the age cohort was lower than the national average. In only six of the development towns-Yavne, Yokne'am 'Illit, Carmiel, Netivot, Afula and Arad-was the success rate higher.Shlomo Swirski, Adva Center, "Students Passing Matriculation Exams in 1999," May 2000 (emphasis in original). But see Andre Elias Mazawi, "Region, Locality Characteristics, High School Tracking and Equality in Access to Educational Credentials: the Case of Palestinian Arab Communities in Israel," Educational Studies, vol. 24, no. 2, 1998, pp. 223-240 (discussing importance of socio-economic status and locality of residence in relation to education).