In December 2009, a master plan for Jerusalem’s Ultra-Orthodox schools was published. The master plan, which was prepared by KESHET Inc. – Planning Services, was commissioned by the Jerusalem Municipality to assess future needs and to identify buildings and grounds that can be used for classrooms and school facilities so that the city will be able to provide the education needs of its Ultra-Orthodox students by the year 2020. With an already existing shortage of classrooms today, the shortage is expected to increase as the number of students grows.
For the preparation of the master plan, Ultra-Orthodox school enrollment projections for Jerusalem were calculated on the basis of the neighborhoods of Jerusalem which either currently have or are projected to have a sizable Ultra-Orthodox population by 2020. Students enrollment projections are used to project future demand for classroom facilities. The study also included a survey of current school enrollment and facilities and of available land that might be used for building new schools to serve the Ultra-Orthodox educational system.
In 2005, which was used as the scale mark for the study, school enrollment in the Ultra-Orthodox educational system (for children aged 6-17) was approximately 55,800 – 67% of those students lived in neighborhoods with an Ultra-Orthodox majority. Another 15% of them lived in areas that are “switching over,” i.e., areas where the percentage of Ultra-Orthodox as a percentage of the total population is steadily increasing. Another 4% commuted to school from outside of Jerusalem. Only 9% of students enrolled in Ultra-Orthodox schools were residents of other neighborhoods of Jerusalem. (The addresses of 6% were unknown.)
According to the estimates of the master plan, 69,400 students will be enrolled in Ultra-Orthodox schools in Jerusalem by 2020. Neighborhoods of Jerusalem which are expected to have the largest number of school-aged children (ages 6-17) enrolled in Ultra-Orthodox schools are: Ramot Alon with an estimated 8,300 students, Romema-Komuna – 8,200 students, and Ramat Shlomo – 8,100 students.
In order to provide adequate schooling facilities by 2020, the Ultra-Orthodox educational system in Jerusalem will need three new special education schools and an additional 600 classrooms with an area of 77,000 sq m.
Source: Jerusalem Municipality, Master Plan for Ultra-Orthodox Educational
Facilities, December 2009, prepared by KESHSET Inc. – Kidum Sherutei Tichnun