Friday, August 29, 2008

Record Yeshiva Ennrollment In Israel Predicted For Upcoming Year

Israel -- Some 63,000 young men are expected to begin studying this week in Yeshivos and Kollelim, the Education Ministry announced yesterday. The figure represents an all-time high in Kollel registration, an increase of 4,500 from last year and 67 percent from 10 years ago. In the regular (not Kollelim) Charedi Yeshivos, some 30,000 students were enrolled last year, a figure also expected to climb this year.
Altogether, the number of students enrolled in Yeshivos and Kollelim this year is expected to reach a record 95,000, compared with 88,000 last November, according to Amos Zaida of the Education Ministry. The 95,000 students in kollels and yeshivas represent 3.5 percent of working-age men.

The rate paid by the Education Ministry for every Kollel student is roughly NIS 720 per month, or NIS 8,640 annually. The cost of funding study in Yeshivos is NIS 400 a month, or NIS 4,800 a year. The 95,000 students in Kollelim and Yeshivos represent 3.5 percent of working-age men. A 2004 Knesset report found that if members of the community participated in the workforce as do the general population, their contribution would be close to NIS 5 billion. A 2000 Finance Ministry report produced similar findings, placing the economic damage of Charedi men's absence from the workforce and the army at NIS 5 billion.

Knesset member R' Avraham Ravitz of the United Torah Judaism party rejected the economic estimates. "Billion, schmillion," he said. "It's a numbers game."

Things do seem to be changing, though. A recent Finance Ministry report states that "the participation rate of the Charedi sector in the workforce has been rising steadily in recent years," a spokesperson said. "In the framework of the government's social-economic agenda, staff are working on encouraging the employment of men and women in the Charedi sector. This will be done while trying to maintain the current trend or even accelerate it. The staff will present its recommendations in the coming weeks."

No comments: