Israel's Higher Education
Education in Israel is a life-long process.
This article, the second of two parts, covers adult and higher education in Israel. The first part provides an introduction to Israel's educational system and focuses on education for children. Reprinted with permission from the Israeli Ministry of Affairs.
A wide range of courses sponsored by the Ministry of Education, as well as by public and private institutions, address individual needs ranging from learning the Hebrew language and upgrading basic educational skills to promoting family well-being and expanding general knowledge. The Ministry of Labor provides vocational training and retraining for adults in many fields, available in the large cities, as well as in many towns.
Hebrew language instruction on many levels, using the specially-developed ulpan method, helps immigrants and other population groups to integrate into the mainstream of Israeli life. Compensatory education, designed to reduce educational and cultural disparities among adults is tailored to the world of adult learners. Vocational training courses, both in day and night classes, are available at centers jointly operated by the Ministry of Labor and industrial enterprises, as well as in institutions for technological and professional training. "Popular universities" all over the country offer hundreds of adult education classes and workshops in academic subjects as well as the arts. Special radio broadcasts for immigrants include a "university on the air" program.
Higher education plays a pivotal role in the economic and social development of the country. Almost a quarter of a century before the state came into being, the Technion-- Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa was opened (1924) to train engineers and architects and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was founded (1925) as a center of higher learning for youth in the Land of Israel and to attract Jewish students and scholars from abroad. When Israel attained independence (1948), enrollment at the two universities totaled about 1,600. In 2000-2001, some 216,000 students attended the country's institutions of higher learning. Of these, 54 percent attended universities and 30 percent were enrolled in colleges, while 16 percent participated in courses through the Open University.
Accorded full academic and administrative freedom, Israel's institutions of higher education are open to all those who meet their academic standards. New immigrants and students lacking the necessary qualifications may attend a special preparatory program, which upon successful completion enables them to apply for admission.