New study says less than 1% of Ethiopians have academic degrees; sector avoids scientific studies
A new study presented by the Knesset Information and Research Center revealed that only 8% of Ethiopians in Israel attend institutes of higher learning, and they make up only a fraction of the academic student body in Israel.
The report was prepared at the request of the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora ahead of Wednesday’s debate in the Knesset on Ethiopians in academics. According to the report, in the 2008/2009 academic year only1,921 Ethiopians studied in institutes of higher learning – a mere 0.9% of the student population of that year.
During that academic year, 0.7% of Ethiopians were eligible for a bachelor’s degree while the percentage of those who completed their master’s was only 0.3%.
As of today, there are soley 2,060 Ethiopians with an academic degree: 1,810 (88%) have a bachelor’s degree and a mere 250 (12%) received a master’s degree.
However between the academic years of 2004/2005 to 2008/2009 the number of Ethiopians with a bachelor’s degree almost doubled, rising from 155 to 298.
According to the report, the most popular fields of study for Ethiopians were social sciences, education and getting a teaching permit. Meanwhile, the majority of them did not study sciences, medicine, agriculture, languages, literature and regional studies.
The report mentioned the huge gap between Ethiopians and the rest of the student population when it comes to the psychometric, or aptitude tests, scores, which are a crucial standard affecting their chances of getting into academic institutions.
According to statistics, the average score of Ethiopians in 2007 was 424, while the average of all who tested stood on 532.
Despite these drastic gaps, Ethiopian students are eligible for financial assistance from the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, which grants them about NIS 70,000 ($20,316) until they graduate. The annual budget intended for these grants stands on NIS 30 million ($8.71 million).
When inquired about this issue, the universities said promoting the integration of Ethiopians in the academy is on their agenda, adding they take different measures in order to ease the acceptance of Ethiopians into their institutes.
Chairman of the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora affairs, MK Danny Danon, addressed this important report saying, “It saddens me to see that even after dozens of years of Ethiopian immigration, the academic degree – which is considered a ticket into today’s job market – remains only a dream to this community. I call upon the universities and institutes for higher learning to not leave the issue of versatility to the classes of social studies and political science, but to truly shape it and implement it.”