Students accessing Jewish classes
Of the 750 students enrolled in religious education classes across Victoria., 450 students are accessing Jewish education via the United Jewish Education Board.
Jewish education continues to thrive despite an overall decline among Victorian students opting to take religious education classes in government and non-Jewish schools.
In 2011, the government changed the delivery of religious education in government schools by making it optional and shifting classes to outside of school hours.
Only around 750 students are currently enrolled in religious education classes across Victoria.
However, out of those 750, 450 students are accessing Jewish education via the United Jewish Education Board. Across UJEB’s 17 primary schools, eight secondary schools and five specialist schools, primary school students are enrolled in Jewish life and Hebrew immersion classes that run before and after school. In addition, high school students attend J-Lunch, a Jewish cultural club that runs during lunchtimes.
UJEB president Gabi Crafti credits UJEB’s success as a Jewish education provider across government and non-Jewish schools to not being aligned to a specific stream of Judaism, or a particular Jewish ideology.
“I think that, by and large, Jewish students who go to non-Jewish schools have really strong Jewish identities. And they’re keen to access Jewish education, which is what UJEB offers them,” Crafti said.
“We are inclusive and non-judgmental. We care about fostering students’ Jewish identities, engagement and connection.”
Meanwhile, in the NAPLAN (National Assessment Program) rankings released last week, Melbourne’s Jewish high schools achieved scores ranging from the 500s to the early 600s out of a possible score of 1000.
Beth Rivkah Ladies College was the highest ranked Jewish school at 54 with an score of 617.40.