Have the Gaps in Education Narrowed? on Factors Determining Eligibility for the Israeli Matriculation Certificat
This paper explores whether there are significant differences in educational opportunities between social groups in Israel, defined by religion, ethnic origin, gender, or family background, and if so, to what extent. We found that 60 percent of Jewish students were eligible for the matriculation certificate, 21 percentage points higher than the proportion of non-Jewish students. Within the Jewish population, differences in the rates of eligibility for the matriculation certificate were found between ethnic groups, with a higher rate of eligibility for the matriculation certificate among those of Western origin (Ashkenazim) than among those of Eastern origin (Sephardim). Interestingly, this ethnic gap in educational success is wider between second generation Israelis than between first generation Israelis, and wider than the ethnic gap between those born abroad. These results are even more pronounced among female students. However, the gaps between those of Western origin and those of Eastern origin in all generations almost disappears if the differences in parents' educational levels are taken into account. Multidimensional Scaling by Faceted SSA (Smallest Space Analysis) revealed four fundamental variables each making a unique contribution to success in attaining the matriculation certificate: general well-being, economic standard of living, parents' educational background, and investment in the child.