the Arab Sector of Education in Israel

Israel is a signatory of the Convention against Discrimination in Education, and ratified it in 1961. The convention has the status of law in Israeli courts.

Israel operates an Arab education system for the Israeli-Arab minority, teaching Arab students, in Arabic, about their history and culture. However, there have been claims that the Jewish education system gets more resources. According to the Follow-Up Committee for Arab Education, the Israeli government spends an average of $192 per year on each Arab student, and $1,100 per Jewish student. It also notes that drop-out rate for Israeli Arab citizens is twice as high as that of their Jewish counterparts (12 percent versus 6 percent). The same group also noted that in 2005, there was a 5,000-classroom shortage in the Arab sector.

In 1999, in attempt to close the gap between Arab and Jewish education sectors, the Israeli education minister, Yossi Sarid, announced an affirmative action policy, promising that Arabs would be granted 25% of the education budget, more than their proportional share in the population (18%). He also added that the ministry would support the creations of an Arab academic college.

In 2001, a Human Rights Watch report stated that students in government-run Arab schools received inferior education due to fewer teachers, inadequate school construction, and lack of libraries and recreational space. Jewish schools were found to be better equipped, some offering film editing studios and theater rooms. In 2009, Sorel Cahan of Hebrew University's School of Education claimed that the average per-student budget allocation for students with special needs at Arab junior high schools was five times lower.

In 2007, the Israeli Education Ministry announced a plan to increase funding for schools in Arab communities. According to a ministry official, "At the end of the process, a lot of money will be directed toward schools with students from families with low education and income levels, mainly in the Arab sector." The Education Ministry prepared a five-year plan to close the gaps and raise the number of students eligible for high school matriculation.

A 2009 report showed that obstacles to Arab students participating in higher education resulted in over 5,000 moving to study in nearby Jordan. And in 2010, human rights groups and lawyers criticized a number of measures which were introduced to benefit Jewish secondary school leavers and adversely affected Arab students intending to enroll in higher education.

The Ministry of Education announced in April 2010 that the suggested curriculum for the coming school year would not include civics, democratic values, or Jewish-Arab coexistence, and focus more on Zionist and Jewish values.

In 2010, the number of computer science teachers in the Arab sector rose by 50%. The Arab sector also saw a rise of 165% in instructors teaching technology classes and a 171% increase in the number teaching mathematics. The number of physics teachers in Arab schools grew by 25%, those teaching chemistry by 44% and in biology by 81.7%.

According to a 2012 report by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, there is a shortage of 6,100 classrooms and 4,000 teachers in Arab communities.

Christian Arabs tend to have had the highest rates of success in the matriculation examinations, both in comparison to the Muslims and the Druze, and in comparison to all students in the Jewish education system. Arab Christians were also the vanguard in terms of eligibility for higher education, and they have attained a bachelor's degree and academic degree more than the median Israeli population. The rate of students studying in the field of medicine was also higher among the Christian Arab students, compared with all the students from other sectors. The percentage of Arab Christian women who are higher education students is higher than other sectors.