The Startup Nation and its IT Problem
June 28, 2017
The New York Times — Driven by startups, Israel’s technology industry is its fastest growing part of the economy. It accounts for 14 percent of economic output and 50 percent of exports.
But a shortage of workers means its position at the cutting edge of global technology is at risk, with consequences for the economy and employment.
The main reason for the shortfall is a sharp drop in the number of computer science, math and statistics graduates, down from a peak of 3,000 in 2005 to a low of 1,600 in 2008.
This is partly due to problems in secondary and primary schools where lack of funding means some classrooms do not have computers and advanced math teachers are in short supply.
“Why do we still have classes where there are no computers?” laments Yifat Turbiner, a researcher in entrepreneurship and innovation at Ben-Gurion University.
Ms. Turbiner is a Ph.D. student and lecturer in the Department of Business Administration in the Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management. In addition, she is a business development mentor at Inno-Negev, BGU’s technology accelerator.
The Education Ministry has announced plans to boost studies of math and science, especially in high schools outside the cities where advanced classes are not always available. But Turbiner says initiatives are also needed for a higher standard of math at a younger age, including training more teachers.
“If more budgets aren’t allocated to generate a technological state of mind from elementary school, I believe all industries will suffer, not just high-tech,” she says.