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Israel Ranked 2nd Most Educated Country in World

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Sholom Schreirber
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OECD Lists Israel Above United States, Japan

In an announcement that may come as no surprise to those aware of the Jewish people’s strong emphasis on education, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has released a report stating that Israel is the second most educated country in the world. The only country to top Israel on the list is Canada, while Japan and the United States came in third and fourth respectively.

The OECD’s Education at a Glance 2011 report reveals that public funds directly provided 78% of the money invested in education in Israel. It also shows that 45% of the country’s population possesses a college or university diploma. Furthermore, reliable research has established a number of impressive facts about the academic accomplishments of Israeli citizens. These include the findings that Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees per capita in the world; Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin – 109 per 10,000 people – as well as one of the highest per capita rates of product patents filed; and at least 12% of Israel’s workforce holds advanced degrees. Israel has also produced ten Nobel Prize winners, including Dan Shechtman for Chemistry in 2011, Robert Aumann for Economics in 2005, and the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin for Peace in 1978.

Additionally, 60% of Israel’s active population receives a high school education, a phenomenon that has been bolstered by the arrival of a multitude of researchers from the former Soviet Union. In the religious realm, the Jewish state is known for having a plethora of advanced yeshivas, including the Mirrer Yeshiva – generally recognized as the world’s largest Orthodox educational institution – and the Ponevezh Yeshiva, also one of the world’s largest yeshivas.

Considered a precious legacy by most Israelis, education of its citizens is recognized as the key to Israel’s future. Israel’s universities and research institutions – such as the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) and the Weizmann Institute – are widely regarded as world-class. The Technion made headlines recently, when it was announced that they were partnering with America’s prestigious Cornell University to create a multi-disciplinary engineering school in New York City. Moreover, the widespread requirement among Israelis to serve in the military – which offers diverse courses and trainings – provides young adults with technical and practical experience by necessitating that they work in teams in fields such as technology.

Indeed, Israel has achieved worldwide fame for its pacesetting record in the high-tech sector. The Jewish state was a pioneer in the development and production of cell phones; it has produced state-of-the-art communications satellites; its technological leadership in solar energy has encouraged numerous “green energy” entrepreneurs; and a proposed 2000-megawatt sub-sea electric power cable is expected to link Israel, Cyprus and Greece in order to export electricity from natural gas to Europe.

Israel has also greatly capitalized on its educational prowess to lead the way in many aspects of medical endeavor. Tel Aviv University researchers recently discovered a key cancer clue entailing the appearance in pairs of chromosome aberrations leading to the disease, while a separate team at that school has linked mobility deficits in leg muscles to the initial stage of Multiple Sclerosis; Ben Gurion University researchers are conducting valuable practical research into minimally invasive surgery; and new pharmaceutical developments from two Israeli biotechnology firms will likely have significant value to people at risk of contracting Alzheimer’s disease.

Finally, well-educated Israelis have helped transform the economic climate of their country through the propagation of start-up businesses. In fact, Israeli start-up companies raised a record amount of $2.14 billion in 2011, an eleven-year high. Without a doubt, the “People of the Book” are continuing to write exciting new chapters in the story of Israel’s educational and social advancements.

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