Israel’s 2006/7 academic year began officially October 22, with a number of challenges facing the country’s 254,000 students enrolled in the country’s state universities and private colleges.
Facing rising tuition costs and related problems a as result of last summers 34 day military conflict, many students will find it even harder to achieve that cherished “Toar” (Degree) that may make the difference over entering a good career path. Academic institutions in Israel’s northern cities will commence their academic year even later, due to students in ones like the Technion and Haifa University having end of term examinations put on hold last summer due to the war.
Other difficulties facing this year’s academic programs include fewer course subjects (due largely to administrative cut-backs), and possibilities of shortage of supplies and laboratory equipment, also a result in severe government budget reductions over the past 5 years amounting to over 1.2 billion New Shekels. Due to the Lebanon war, the government has yet to transfer a sum of N.S. 140 million to the country’s academic institutions.
Other factors also will affect the demographic student ‘mix’ in the countries institutions of higher learning; one of these being the growing disparity between students of European and North American backgrounds and those from African and Asian origins. Only 26% of all matriculating students from North African or “Mizrachi” (eastern) backgrounds go on to study in a college or university, compared to 48% of those from Western backgrounds. While women outnumber men in undergraduate and higher degree programs, 55% and 56% respectively; in the higher academic degree staff positions, there are still fewer women than men.
In a public university, for those living in dormitories, annual expenses including tuition, runs about N.S. 32,500. With the announced tuition increases, these expenses will rise considerably, making the cost of achieving an academic Degree even more difficult for many students, especially those who work part time to help pay annual costs. Private colleges, such as the Managerial College, results in annual tuition alone costing more than N.S. 26,000. This fee does not include ‘extras’ such as supplies and fees for taking various examinations.
Many academics are also studying abroad, especially for MBA’s and other advanced degrees; with more than 3,000 Israelis holding academic positions in American colleges and Universities. While the cost of obtaining an advanced degree in an American university can cost an average of $50 â€“ 60,000 per academic year; the prestige of having such a degree from a university such as Harvard, NYU, UCLA, etc., can mean much higher incomes and career opportunities.
Popular study curriculums include Business Administration (1,700 enrollees in Hebrew University), economics (1,946 in Univ. Tel Aviv), and Law (1,671 in Univ. Tel Aviv). Even in Israel, the total cost of obtaining an advanced degree can run more than $30,000, making the ‘paper chase’ for degrees such as an MBA something for wealthier students only, with stipends received for working in University offered positions paying little more than minimum wage amounts.
October 24, 2006 at 3:41 pm
Its always been a challenge to study in the higher education
institutions in Israel, but it getting harder and harder every
year, thanks to the wrong attitude of the countries politicians,
they fail to see the vital importance of higher education
to the country’s future, unlike most of the developed countries,
its about time to wake up Israel, you have a long way to go in
order to catch up with most of the advanced countries for your
October 24, 2006 at 9:09 pm
From a political standpoint, its very interesting that
the left leaning parties have a higher number of
academics than right-winged ones like the Likud and
National Alliance – Israel Our Home.
Of course, the Likud, like the Republican Party in the
USA, has a higher number of Degree holders from business
So, in the end, it’s the same face-off between the
the philosophic folk and the practical ones.
The question is, what is more needed in today’s ever
more dangerous world.