Haaretz has reported that an Israeli Council for Higher Education report reveals that only around 11 per cent of undergraduate students are Arab citizens of the state, a figure that constitutes less than half of their overall percentage of the population. Of post-graduate doctoral students, only 3 per cent are Arabs, it is claimed.
The internal report obtained by the newspaper at the beginning of the new academic year shows that Israeli Arabs are “disadvantaged” from the start. “While 44 per cent of Jewish students meet the minimum requirements for university acceptance, only 22 per cent of their Arab peers do,” said Haaretz. “Even those who do meet the requirements are less likely to get a place at university; 32 per cent of Arabs who apply to institutions of higher education are not accepted, compared to 19 per cent of Jews.”
According to the CHE report, among the main obstacles to Arabs in higher education are the gaps resulting from the formal education system. “For example, only 57 per cent of Arab teens take the matriculation (bagrut) exams, compared to 75 per cent of Jews in the same age bracket. Also, only half of the Arabs who sit for the exams obtain a matriculation certificate (28 per cent of all Arab pupils), while around two-thirds of the Jews (51 per cent of all Jewish pupils) matriculate,” noted Haaretz.
The newspaper also pointed to the psychometric test as an obstacle; it is “a primary entrance requirement for university places, on which Arabs, on average, score about 100 points lower than Jews”.