Israeli teachers earn 40% of OECD average
The annual starting salary of an Israeli elementary school teacher was $18,199 in 2008, 60% less than the OECD average of $28,949, says the OECD in its "Education at a Glance 2010" report. The salary in 2008 of an Israeli elementary school teacher with 15 years seniority was $19,868, less than half of the OECD average of $39,426.
The report also shows that the salary of an Israeli teacher with 15 years seniority is much less than people with higher education in other professions, perhaps explaining the problem in recruiting good teachers.
The OECD found that Israel's spending per pupil (in purchasing power terms) rose 8% in 2006-07, a fraction of the OECD average growth of 42%. Israel spent an average of $5,060 per pupil in 2007, compared with the OECD average of 6,741.
Israel spent 4.1% of GDP on schools in 2007, less than the 4.4% of GDP it spent in 2006, but above the OECD average of 3.6%. In most of the countries covered, with the exception of Australia and Spain, spending on education as a percentage of GDP was unchanged or rose in 2000-07, but Israel's spending declined, after peaking in 2002. However, it is necessary to take into account that Israel has more children as a proportion of total population than most OECD countries, and other countries covered in the report.
Israel's classrooms are crowded. The average elementary school class is 28, compared with the OECD average of 22. However, Israel's average hours of teaching per pupil is one of the highest among the countries surveyed, at every age. Reasons include a six-day school week, compared with five days in most countries, how class hours are calculated, the splitting of classes, and support for weak pupils.
The number of hours per teacher in Israel is lower than the OECD average: 755 hours of frontal teaching for primary education in 2008, compared with the OECD average of 786 hours; and 541 hours frontal teaching in secondary education, compared with the OECD average of 661 hours.
The OECD also found some strong points in Israel's education. Israel has one of the highest proportion of people with higher education in the world, at 44% in 2008, and 90% of pupils finish 12th grade compared with the OECD average of 80%. 60% of high school graduates go on to university, above the OECD average of 56%.
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