Increasing Access to Higher Education for Ultra-Orthodox Jews

Plan for Integration of Haredim in Academia

The CHE and the PBC dedicate significant efforts and resources toward making higher education accessible to the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish population and integrating it into the Israeli workplace and society. These efforts rely on two guiding principles: 1. Recognizing the unique characteristics of the Ultra-Orthodox population and integrating them into academia while respecting their way of life. 2. Recognizing the educational gaps in this population compared to non-Ultra-Orthodox populations, primarily as the result of the failure to learn core curriculum studies.

The Ultra-Orthodox Centers Program to expand accessibility to higher education for the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish population commenced in 2011. In the framework of the program, 15 dedicated academic centers were established for the Ultra-Orthodox population, spread out all over the country with a wide variety of fields of study.

Between the 2014/15 and 2016/17 academic years, PBC/CHE acted to formulate a multiyear policy for the 2016/17-2021/22 academic years with regard to expandi

ng accessibility of higher education to the UltraOrthodox population. This new policy was approved by the CHE in the month of May 2017. This policy continues the development of existing Ultra-Orthodox Centers alongside opening integration possibilities on ordinary campuses, in separate classrooms or within ordinary classrooms. Approximately a year ago, the first pilot was launched to examine the separated classroom track in a number of academic institutions. Similarly, emphasis was placed in the program on those fields required in the marketplace and among the Ultra-Orthodox, including high-tech fields as well as training teachers for the Ultra-Orthodox population, particularly in core curriculum subjects. The total number of Ultra-Orthodox students enrolled in institutions of higher education in 2017/18 was more than 13,000 students: approximately 10,000 bachelor’s degree students, approximately 1600 master’s degree students, and approximately 2000 preparatory students, compared to a total of 6000 Ultra-Orthodox students enrolled in all degree programs in the 2010/11 academic year. The target for the 2021/22 academic year is 19,000 students. The total budget designated to the multiyear (6 years) program is approximately NIS 1.2 billion.