Israel's education system scores far below the average among Western countries as far as its public investment on education and class size are concerned, a report issued Tuesday by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) revealed.
The report, Education at a Glance 2013, analyzed education trends in its 34 member countries and observer countries, and showed that while on average OECD countries spent in 2010 more than 7,500 U.S. dollars per student, Israel's spending was about 5, 100 dollars per student.
Ranked at the top, Norway invested about 13,414 dollars per student; the United States, about 10,200 dollars; and Britain, around 7,200 dollars.
The report also showed that Israel is one of the countries with the most crowded classrooms. On average, an Israeli junior-high class has 28.7 students, compared to an average of 23.3 students in the OECD countries.
The situation is even worse among primary schools, as Israeli ranks the lowest in the category among all OECD countries with an average of 27.3 students per class.
Israeli governments have frozen the education budget since 2001, as part of the policy to curb expenditure. Only last year, as part of a reform in the education system, it was infused with much needed new money which has not yet caught up with the natural increase in the number of students.
The report also included indicators on links between education levels and employment, showing that education remains the best protection against unemployment.
Jobless rates are nearly three times higher among people without an upper secondary education than among those who have a tertiary education, said the report.
"Leaving school with good qualifications is more essential than ever," OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said. "Countries must focus efforts on helping young people, especially the less well- educated who are most at risk of being trapped in a low skills, low wage future."