Israel's Higher Education
Education in Israel is a life-long process.
Institutions of higher education operate under the authority of the Council for Higher Education, which is headed by the Minister of Education and includes academics, community representatives and a student representative. It grants accreditation, authorizes the awarding of academic degrees and advises the government on the development and financing of higher education and scientific research.
The Planning and Grants Committee, composed of four senior academics from different fields and two public figures from the business or industrial sectors, is the intermediary body between the government and the institutions of higher education regarding financial matters, submitting budget proposals to both bodies and allocating the approved budget. Public funds provide 70 percent of the budget for higher education, 20 percent derives from tuition and the rest from various private sources. The Committee also promotes cooperation among the various institutions.
Most Israeli students are over age 21 when they begin their studies, after three years compulsory military service for men and almost two years for women. Until the early 1960s, students pursued higher education mainly to acquire knowledge, while in recent years they have been more career-oriented, with larger numbers enrolled in the wide range of professional studies now offered. At present, well over half of Israelis in the 20-24 age group are enrolled in one of the country's institutions of post-secondary or higher education.
Technion--Israel Institute of Technology (est. 1924, Haifa) has graduated a high proportion of the country's engineers, architects and town planners. In recent decades, faculties for medicine and the life sciences were added. The Technion serves as a center of basic and applied research in the sciences and engineering to advance the country's industrial development.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (est. 1925) comprises faculties which cover nearly all areas of scholarship, from art history to zoology, and houses Israel's National Library. Since its inception, Hebrew University scientists have been actively involved in every phase of Israel's national development, and its Jewish Studies departments rank among the most comprehensive in the world.
Weizmann Institute of Science (est. 1934, Rehovot), originally founded as the Sieff Institute, was expanded in 1949 and named for Dr. Chaim Weizmann, Israel's first president and a renowned chemist. Today, it is a recognized post-graduate center of research in physics, chemistry, mathematics, and the life sciences. Its researchers are engaged in projects designed to accelerate the development of industry and the establishment of new science-based enterprises. The Institute includes a department for science teaching which prepares curricula for use in high schools.
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