To be sure, Jerusalem is known for its complexities. It might be argued though that nowhere are they more apparent than in the city’s education system, or rather systems. The number of school students in Jerusalem – some 241,000 – is equivalent to the total number of residents in some of Israel’s other cities (Rishon Lezion and Ashdod, for example). In other words, Jerusalem's huge range of social diversity is expressed through its school system, the largest and most complex education system in Israel.
Perhaps the greatest change occurred in 1967, when, as Dr. Maya Choshen notes, two cities, two cultures, two peoples became one. After the Six Day War, Jerusalem's population swelled by 70,000, and thousands of those were children. In the years that followed, all population groups in Jerusalem grew consistently – and with that came a demand to adapt the educational options and services to the growing and diversifying needs of the different sectors.
The Jerusalem Education Administration was established to be responsible for the official Hebrew education system in West Jerusalem (state and state-religious) and official Arab education system in East Jerusalem. Regarding Hebrew education, in the current (2010/11) academic year, there are 152,900 children registered in Jerusalem – 58,700 school pupils (38 percent) within the framework of the Education Administration and 94,200 (62 percent) in the municipality's separate Ultra-Orthodox Education Division. This reflects a decade-long trend in which the number of pupils in haredi Hebrew education exceeds that of pupils learning in the state and state-religious education system. The first time that occurred was in 1999/2000, when there were 67,700 pupils in the state and state-religious frameworks and 69,900 in the haredi education system.
The last decade has also seen the number of pupils registered in Arab education within the framework of the Municipality’s Education Administration rise, from less than 40,000 to 67,100. This is due to natural population growth and an increase in demand for schools that are affiliated with the Administration. This includes a number of Arab educational institutions that were previously considered private that have since been designated as "non-official recognized institutions" by the Israeli Ministry of Education.