Education in Israel plays a significant role and is considered to be a key to the successful future of a person. The system aims at education children whose job is to become tolerant, understanding, loving and responsible members of the democratic and pluralistic society.
Although before the establishment of the State of Israel (1948), there had been already a functioning system of education, the large number of immigrants from all kinds of countries with various backgrounds, education, religious beliefs and traditions produced the necessity of the change in the existing educational system. Apart from enlarging rooms and the amount of both teachers and classrooms for a bigger amount of students, the methods and approaches to teaching were also changed.
Preschool Education. Children in Israel go to preschool educational institutions as early as at 2 or 3. The compulsory education, however, starts at 5 and it is free. At this stage children are assisted in developing basic language and calculating skills, cognitive, creative and social abilities.
Primary and Secondary Education. It is obligatory to attend school from 6 to 16 years, while 2 more years (till 18) are optional. This stage of education comprises:
- primary school: grades 1 – 6
- intermediate school 7 – 9
- secondary school 10 – 12
There is a division of primary and intermediate schools into 4 groups: state schools, state religious schools, Arab and Druze schools, and private schools. Each kind of school puts emphasis on some specific area of studying (Jewish/Arab/Druze religion, culture, traditions, etc.). The curriculum is directed at giving pupils fundamental knowledge in all spheres of studying.
All secondary schools may be divided into:
• schools with specialized curricula preparing students for matriculation or vocational diploma;
• technological schools training technicians and practical engineers;
• agricultural schools featuring agronomy subjects;
• military preparatory schools;
• Yeshiva high schools (mainly boarding schools).
Higher Education. The two main institutions of higher education are the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa (1924) and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1925). There are also such educational institutions as Weizmann Institute of Science (1934), Bar Ilan University (1955), Tel Aviv University (1956), and Haifa University (1963). Today those establishments as well as other educational institutions are open to everybody who meets the requirements of being accepted. For those whose qualification is insufficient, there are preparatory courses, on successful completion of which the applicants are accepted in the university. Most of the university students in Israel are over the age of 21 when they enter the university, the main reason for this being the compulsory military service for men (3 years) and women (2 years).