Thursday, October 27, 2016

Charedim and Higher Education

I have heard several people claim that employment for charedim is no longer a problem because there are so many new programs designed to give them higher education. The following article from The Jerusalem Post shows that this is not the case:

Jeremy Sharon

Among the thousands of students preparing to begin or return to their university and college studies this Sunday, some 13,000 haredi students will also be heading to the halls of higher education this coming academic year.

According to statistics from the Council for Higher Education, there will be approximately 1,000 new haredi students beginning a variety of courses this year at a broad array of institutions, including established haredi colleges and prestigious universities such as the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Bar-Ilan University.

The number of haredi men and women in higher education has been increasingly rapidly, albeit from a tiny starting point, over the past five years. Whereas in 2011, there were just 5,500 haredim in higher education, that number has more than doubled to this year’s figure of 13,000, an increase of 136%.

Despite these achievements, several concerns have been raised by experts in the field of haredi education.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Prof. Dan Ben-David, a senior faculty member of the department of public policy at Tel Aviv University and president of the Shoresh Institution for socioeconomic research, said the rate of increase in haredi higher education, the dropout rate from higher-education courses and the quality of the education itself are all problematic.

Although there have been significant increases in the numbers of haredim in higher education, this is partly explained by the overall growth of the general haredi population, which is growing very rapidly.

According to the Council for Higher Education, approximately 4,000 haredi men and women start academic courses every year out of an annual cohort of approximately 15,000, roughly 26%, significantly lower than the national average of 50% of students who go into higher education.

The second problem is the high rate of haredim who fail to complete their academic course.
According to the council, there is a 50% dropout rate from higher education among haredi men and 30% for haredi women.

Research data from Shoresh shows that these dropout rates are reflected in statistics that show that the number of haredi men and women in the workforce with academic degrees has remained static.
In the decade from 2003 to 2013, the share of prime working-age Israeli haredi men, aged 35-54, with academic degrees has remained on average at approximately 15% of the haredi male population, with a similar figure for women.

Figures for young haredi men and women, aged 20-34, are even lower, with an average of below 5% for men and around 10% for women.

Ben-David says that the most basic reason for the high dropout rate among haredi students, especially men, is their lack of a basic education at the primary and secondary school levels.

In 2013, 42% of haredi boys of elementary school age studied at institutions where no core curriculum subjects are taught, while such studies in other haredi elementary schools are often limited to just 11 hours a week.

And just 2% of haredi boys obtain a school matriculation certificate, compared to the national average of 70%, along with 17% of haredi girls, although haredi girls, do in general study general education subjects in high school and take alternative exams.

Ben-David added that the quality of education at some of the colleges providing courses for haredi men and women is lower than at research universities.

Although such qualifications do assist haredi men and women in finding employment, the pay is often lower than that received by employees with more qualitative degrees, and the jobs are often in sectors not necessarily related to their field of study.

Ben-David said the primary reason for the high dropout rate and the attendance of haredi students at colleges with lower academic standards is the absence of a general education at the primary and secondary school levels.

As a result, he said, many gifted and talented haredi individuals are not fulfilling their potential, even when they manage to obtain a higher education degree.

“As a country, we’re not running on all cylinders, and our national productivity is hindered because of this failure, and depriving children of the basic right to education is unconscionable” Ben-David said. “This prevents such children from making it to the higher levels of academic achievement and is hurting them and hurting us as a nation.

“There is a reason that all other developed countries in the world provide a general education at the primary and secondary school ages, so we can’t put our heads in the sand and ignore something we know to be corrupt.”


  1. I would also like to know the age and life circumstances of the chareidi drop-outs. I At what age do they typically attend higher education programs? Are they mostly married or single? Do they have babies/small children at home? Let's face it, it's much harder to accomplish many tasks, including going back to school, once you are married and have started a family. Who do you think is going to watch a sick child? The parent who must take off work, and lose pay, or the parent who is in school? I'm not saying it's impossible to get a college or technical degree in those circumstances, but it's a lot harder and sometimes takes a lot longer, and that can be discouraging. That could be another reason for the drop-out rate.

  2. I'm starting law at Hebrew U, and can report that there are only a handful of haredim in my year. I count 4 (including myself, meaning the "haredi" designation is quite loose) out of around 250. And law is the kind of field which should be very well suited for haredim. There may be more haredim in the higher years, but so far it appears that while many more people are going into higher education, this trend hasn't yet made much of a mark at the higher echelons of academia.

  3. I have not checked this myself, but there was an article a few weeks ago in Makor Rishon that claimed that the Council for Higher Education is making problems for educational institutions for men or women only. If so, that does not bode well for advancing haredi higher education.

  4. I'd be wary of believing everything I read in the paper, especially comments about charedim by an obviously far-from-charedi Israeli academic. Still, we can all probably agree that higher education isn't the answer for Charedim, because it isn't the answer for *anybody*. 50% of "students" (undefined) going to college (the number claimed in the article) is absurd and unhealthy for an economy.

    Charedim and their lifestyles are eminently more suited for blue collar jobs that white collar. I know that's tough for Jews to hear, so many of whom think working with their hands is anathema. Its doubly hard for charedim, who have been led to believe since childhood that learning Gemara makes them into geniuses, or at minimum, lawyers. [Just what Israel needs more of.] But if study the matter closely, and take into account the needs of charedim - including minyanim, lack of proximity to women, etc - the conclusion is inescapable.

  5. ...depriving children of the basic right to education is unconscionable...

    How about depriving Jewish children in the Jewish country from true Jewish education in national secular schools?

    1. oh please. you can't feed children on Torah education.

  6. How much of the courses they are failing is remedial math and remedial "language arts" as well as conversational and academuc English.

    As for blue collar, that is a ticket to continuing economic problems. Besides, that sector is being reserved for our "other" population that lives in Israel proper.

  7. From my experiences serving the Jewish Community in Toronto, approximately 10% of students have learning issues (Learning Disabilities, AD/HD or other neurodevelopmental issues). These numbers are also similar in the general population. Its entirely possible these Hareidi students are not being appropriately accommodated or even are aware of they may have some learning issues (apart from needing upgrading).

    1. That 10% is basically screened out by any (competent) college program (or at least referred to appropriate programming).

      However, knowing how cjaredi programs work, it might he overlooked, as it affects government rebursement in cases where there aren't enough substitute s.

      2. Charedim don't care about learning disabilities, etc. They see it as difficulty learning gemarah, which they always overlook, tough luck, etc. (Before we even get into issues of affecting sibling's shidduchim marriage prospects.)

  8. Shavua` tov. The entire discussion of "higher education" is absurd. I am not making any judgments about this thread, I am just expressing how exhausted I am with even having to justify "why" it is necessary to know general knowledge and pay your own bills. The very idea that Hazal could have written what they did in such an explicit manner on this subject and yet we can "learn" a different "peshat" is ludicrous. I was personally involved with a case where a young man from a very insular Haredi-Hasidic community, who knew only a few words in English and possessed only a yeshivah education, was able to teach himself English in several months enough to read textbooks and to get a GED. He did not want to take off his "levush" or change his life in any way other than to go to community college and get a degree. Due to this sole desire his wife was forced to divorce him and he was "excommunicated." It was incredibly sad and now he is a statistic. I am not arguing with the statistics of learning disabilities, etc. in that community, but I think that the main reason for this basic outlook is their basic outlook on life and the importance of living a productive life as a good citizen. This is absolutely akin to the generational welfare and illiteracy problem that one can find in rural areas of the Southern United States. Anyway, I think that the best solution is to STOP accommodating their lifestyle. They can dress how they choose, speak the language they choose, believe what they choose, but they MUST be made to fare in the world like every other citizen.

  9. There might be more haredim in the higher years, yet so far it gives the idea that while numerous more individuals are going into advanced education, this pattern hasn't yet made a big deal about a check at the higher echelons of the scholarly community.

  10. That would then be a good news for those people who wanted to attain a degree from that course. They will not going to worry in terms of future employment.

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  13. This is happening while a current report has shown that the impact of a school education benefits all understudies whether it is in their field, general education, or in a limited specialized zone.Assignment Help

  14. Thanks for sharing this! All the best!


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