The government has just announced a new incentive for students who complete five units on the mathematics bagrut (matriculation) exam in high school.
(Ed. – The “bagrut” is the final exam administered to high school students in Israel, similar to the Regents’ exams taken by high school students in New York.)
The bonus, initiated by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, is an extra 35 points added to the overall score on the bagrut when the student applies to enter university.
It is intended to encourage more students to enter the field of higher mathematics.
Up to this point, the government has offered a bonus of 25 points as an incentive to study mathematics.
“I was happy to discover that, within a short time, all Israeli universities adopted my request,” Bennett said in a statement on Sunday. “This is an unprecedented mobilization for Israel’s students and for strengthening the study of mathematics.”
He urged students “who are debating between four and five units [to] make the effort.”
Bennett’s new bonus pushes the award up by an additional 10 points – but it also widens the gap between students who end their exam at four units – and receive only a 12.5 point bonus – and those who persevere to the fifth level.
All of Israel’s leading universities have accepted the initiative and will participate in awarding the bonus incentives to students.
These include: Ariel University, Bar Ilan University, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and University of Haifa.
The study of higher mathematics is essential to the continuity and future development of Israel’s technological base, government officials have said. Maintaining the edge in cyber defense and cyber warfare is only a small part of that field.
Developing new technologies for water conservation, renewable energy and medical breakthroughs, let alone other manufacturing areas, all require a thorough grounding in higher mathematics; hence the focus on encouraging students to enter the field.