A recent study has shown that, while Canada is the number one nation in the world in terms of the percentage of adults with the equivalent of a college degree (51%), Israel ranks 2nd (46%). This data was reported by Yahoo Finance Canada, based on a report from the OECD ( Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). The United States ranked number 4.
This is interesting on Israel as it makes sense. A nation comprised solely of Jews, a nation that prides itself on education, would naturally be at the top 5. What’s not mentioned in the report is that:
- The state of Israel is also a militaristic society where there’s forced conscription at 18 years of age for most citizens. After Army service some attend University and some don’t. Remember, many leave the army at 20-22 years, the age where many others in other countries graduate. The relatively advanced age makes it more difficult to start.
- The GDP per capita as mentioned in the report is a paltry $26,531, which is almost half of what can be earned in the United States. University is expensive no matter where you go, and living on half would certainly inhibit many from attending. Last I checked there are no CUNYs in Israel to get a cheap education. Scholarships? Again, look at GDP. There’s no money for scholarships! (Okay maybe that’s a stretch, but still.)
- As per #2, the employment rate in Israel is insanely low – only 60% (although many Israelis are happy, based on the same article)! When you aren’t likely to put bread on the table you aren’t likely to have the money to send your kids to college.
- The University entrance exam, the Psychometric, is much much harder than the SATs. According to Wikipedia, the structure is as follows:“The test is divided into 8 sections, each typically containing 25 to 30 multiple choice questions of equal weight with 25 minutes alloted (for a total time of 3 hours and 20 minutes). Of the eight sections, only six actually factor into the final test score—two quantitative reasoning chapters, two verbal reasoning chapters and two English chapters. The other two chapters (colloquially known as the “pilots”), which might be of any of the three types, do not affect the test score and are used as a form of quality control to ensure that a question is fair and measure its degree of difficulty in preparation for full-fledged inclusion as a score-affecting question at a later date. This allows the NITE to get a grasp on how challenging a question is, which helps reliably sort the questions in any given subsection in increasing difficulty; and makes possible the factoring of previous test-takers’ performance given the same questions into the score of a current test-taker, which helps minimize any unfair systematic differences between one date and another that might affect one’s score (such as the overall difficulty of the questions or the overall aptitude of the people taking the test). The NITE strongly encourages test-takers to approach all test sections with equal gravity.According to the NITE the quantitative reasoning sections jointly determine 40% of the final score, the verbal reasoning sections another 40% and the English sections 20%. Use of calculators, alarm clocks, cellular telephones, beepers, electronic instruments of any kind, dictionaries, books, papers or any other study aids is strictly prohibited.”
One more thing: I heard from Israeli friends and relatives that, not only do they mix up the sections to avoid cheating, they could also make one exam solely of English sections and one solely of Math. That is unfair as someone strong or weak in either Math or English can do great or flunk the exam and thereby be affected when it comes to admissions.
Bottom line, if the above weren’t factored in, Israel surely would be #1 in terms of University graduates. It’s a nation of Jews, so why not?