French Jewish schools shine on matriculation exams


(JTA) — At least five of France’s Jewish high schools achieved a 100 percent pass rate in this year’s matriculation exam.

The data appeared Thursday in an article by the Jewish Actualite Juive weekly.

The schools, in which every pupil who took the matriculation exam passed and received a high school diploma, belong to the ORT Jewish educational network of schools, Chabad-Lubavitch and Alliance.

The national passing rate among the approximately 250,000 students who took the general matriculation exam this summer in France was 91.5 percent.

As a whole, the ORT network, which has six schools across France, had a passing rate of 92 percent, according to Marc Timsit, the director of the network. Its two schools with a perfect score are in Villiers-le-Bel near Paris and in Toulouse.

Of the five Jewish schools listed as achieving a perfect score, ORT Toulouse was the only one outside the Paris region. Each school had several dozen graduates.

The Chabad-affiliated Ozar Hatorah network, which has six schools in the Paris region, had a 98 percent passing rate. Half of the network’s matriculation exam candidates graduated with distinction.

Andre Touboul, director of the Beth Hanna high school of the Chabad-affiliated Haya Mouchka educational complex, said his school’s perfect score may be attributable to less demanding tests in comparison with standards applied 10 years ago.

Earlier this year, Beth Hanna topped the Le Parisien daily’s annual list of best high schools in France. Another list compiled by the France Televisions public broadcaster was topped by the Lycee Alliance, a Jewish school in the Paris suburb of Seine Saint-Denis.

Rabbi Yossef Itshak Pevzner, head of the Sinai educational network, whose high school division also achieved a perfect score this summer, downplayed the statistics’ significance.

“My father used to say a Jewish school shouldn’t be a grade factory,” he told Actualite Juive. “We believe everyone has the means to succeed, and we work hard to help them achieve it.”

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