In the current school year, 18,050 high school students completed 5-unit mathematics, reflecting more than a 100% growth from 8,869 graduates in 2012. These graduates were promised that ‘5 units will open the doors’ for them, to university, and consequently into the job market. Now, the eyes turn to the higher education system, in order for it to create more positions for students, particularly in the sciences and engineering departments. In anticipation for this growth, the Minister of Education asked the Council for Higher Education to prepare a comprehensive program. The program defined a goal of a 40% increase in the number of students and was allocated a significant budget to support its implementation.
The Israeli Democracy Institute (IDI), an independent research organization that specializes in raising policy issues for discussion among decision makers, proposes to conduct a study that will examine the readiness of the higher education system to absorb an increased number of students in the science and engineering departments. In consultation and agreement with the Council for Higher Education, the study will seek to answer the following questions:
- What is the forecast number of 5-unit graduates who will seek to take science-based or engineering majors in universities and colleges in the next five to ten years?
- What are the steps that each of the universities and colleges will need to take in order to meet this demand?
In order to answer the first question, the IDI will use data from the Central Bureau of Statistics to reveal how many of the science and engineering students in universities and colleges graduated their high school with five-units in mathematics. The study will seek to identify changes and trends in the past ten years, to correlate them with changes in the five-unit graduation rates, the matriculation and psychometric test grades, and the socio-economic background of the students. This analysis will be used in order to predict future demand.
The second research question will be addressed via in-depth interviews with senior management and academic faculty in universities and colleges. They will be shown the forecast and asked about their plans, preparations and needs, regarding hiring of faculty, construction of classrooms and equipping laboratories.
The study will be directed by Dr. Eytan Regev, who previously conducted a longitudinal research at the Taub Center on the implications of five-unit studies on earning prospects. The findings will be prepared in the form of a printed and a digital report which will be published to the professional community and the general public free of charge. A conference will be convened by the IDI to present the research and discuss its results with experts, policy makers and teachers.
* The text presented above shows the grant as approved by the Foundation Board / Grant 303