Ph.D Thesis

Ph.D StudentAnat Even-Zahav
SubjectStrategic Analysis of Educational Systems: Risk Management
of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and
Mathematics) Education in Israel
DepartmentDepartment of Education in Science and Technology
Supervisor Full Professors Hazzan Orit
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


This research presents the implementation of a Risk Management process to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education in Israel’s high school education system. Much like in a business organization, a three-phase risk-management process employed: Risk Identification, Risk Assessment & Prioritizing, and Risk Response.

The research goal is to outline a risk-management plan to STEM education in Israel based on the conceptions of five stakeholders groups (below, research participants): Educators, academics, industrials, military and philanthropy actors, who all have vested interest in STEM education in general and in promoting STEM education in high school education system in Israel in particular.

The risk management process performed in the research included SWOT analysis aimed at identifying risks, a Delphi method for the purpose of risks prioritizing, and a response plan aimed at mitigating risks faced by STEM education in Israel.

Research findings presented according to the three phases of the risk management analysis performed in the research:

A. SWOT analysis enabled risks identification. The identified risks present the different perspectives of the research participants, and outline weaknesses and threats faced by the STEM education system, the existence of which endanger reaching central objectives. The risks identified by STEM teachers are ones directly regarding teachers, bearing the marks of possible ramifications of those risks on them as teachers (e.g. risks associated with professional opportunities, training and professional status). Risks identified by other stakeholders express the risks they perceive as having potential effects of their organizations (e.g. failings in forming a clear learning and pedagogical path from high school to academia to the work market can trigger manpower shortages in the military, the industry and the academia).

B. Delphi Method produced risks prioritizing. Delphi survey reached out to 186 research participants. The survey’s findings indicate strategic risks represent social perceptions in relation to STEM education. Strategic risks ranked as high-level risks in terms of the effect on the objectives of STEM education. Among those risks: high school pupils’ self-perceptions with respect to scientific subjects; social perceptions regarding diminished image of technology studies; diminished public recognition granted to teachers in Israel; and sectorial gaps resulting from deeply rooted perceptions as well as historic processes which generated them.

C. Risk response planning that may reveal opportunities to mitigate strategic risks. A reaction plan for strategic risk mitigation that proposes action items to mitigate strategic risks, by avoiding operational risks and accepting external risks, formulated. Thirteen modes of action proposed: five regarding internal action within the education system, eight involving cooperation with stakeholders of STEM education in Israel.

It should be noted, in conclusion, that in reality, cooperation already takes place, between the education system and other stakeholders - academia, military, industry, and philanthropy institutions. Such cooperation is much desired, but the research suggests it should be carefully examined, so that the best mode of cooperation is adopted, one which accounts for the weaknesses and strengths of all stakeholders.