The Allocation of Teachers' Working Hours in Primary Education, 2001– 09

21/12/2010 |  Blass Nahum, Tsur Shay
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Welfare Policy and Labor Market
Abstract
This research describes and analyses the allocation of teachers' working hours in the regular official primary education system in Israel during school years 2000/01-2008/09. The analysis distinguishes between various segments of the education system, the socioeconomic characteristics of the students and sources of financing, and is based on a large annual sample of schools.
The average weekly number of teachers' working hours per class stood at about 55 during the period under study (equal to about two full-time teaching positions) and was more or less stable in those years. During the period there were significant differences in the number of hours per class, and in particular per student, between various segments of the education system, with the Religious State schools receiving the most, followed by State Jewish schools, Bedouin schools and Arab (including Druze) schools. This was the case despite the fact that students in non-Jewish schools come from much weaker socioeconomic backgrounds than those of students in the Jewish school system. Following the implementation of the Shoshani Report in 2003/04 and the shift to differential allocation of hours per student, there was a significant increase in the number of teachers' working hours per class in the non-Jewish school system, primarily standard hours allocated by the Ministry of Education.
The weaker students' socioeconomic backgrounds, the more hours they received within each segment of the education system, and since the implementation of the Shoshani Report the scope of the affirmative action policy has expanded. However, this trend apparently came to an end with the change to the "combined standard" financing system following the adoption of the Strauss Report during the 2007/08 school year.
Hours covered by non-government sources - local authorities, non-profit organizations and parents - accounted for about 10 percent of total teachers' working hours on average, although in the non-Jewish education system they account for only a negligible proportion. Over the years, the number of non-government hours has grown in the Religious State school system, which has offset and even surpassed the decline in standard (government budgeted) hours allocated to them.
The descriptive statistics are confirmed by a multivariate estimate of teachers' working hours per class and per student as explained by school characteristics and students' socioeconomic characteristics.
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