Targets for Integration of Bedouin Students

Growth target of at least 75% in the number of Bedouin students starting undergraduate degrees in the Israeli system of higher education. From 850 first-year students (2016) to 1,500 first-year students (2022)

Focus on quality integration for the degree and diversity in fields of study, with a focus on high-demand professions. More Bedouin students studying mathematics, engineering and computer science, paramedical professions, psychology, social work, public policy, and more. 

Reduction in the percentage of students studying education and the humanities, from 63% today to 40%.

According to the recommendation of the interministerial team, CHE approved in principle the expansion of the Gateway to Academia pilot at Sapir College to other institutions in the Negev.


PBC Chairperson, Yaffa Zilbershats said, “In recent years, there has been impressive growth in the integration of Arab society into higher education thanks to the holistic program and the significant resources the PBC is investing in this regard. However, among the Bedouin population of the Negev, the numbers are significantly lower and are not satisfactory. Israeli academia is the key to bridging gaps and social leadership, to employment and integration in Israeli society and, therefore, in the coming years we will invest significant resources toward this goal, including academic, economic, social and personal counseling of Bedouin students who are part of the Gateway to Academia programs that will be opened in the Negev, leading to academic studies with all of the students in a wide variety of professions.”


Making higher education accessible to Arab society (with a focus on Bedouin society) has been defined as one of the key issues in the multiannual plan for the system of higher education in Israel. This is also reflected in the government resolution, Program for Socioeconomic Development of the Bedouin Population in the Negev.”

The total budget allocated to implement the multiannual program is close to NIS 110 million. 


As part of this effort, the CHE and PBC have set targets for the integration of the Bedouin population in the higher education system (the targets relate to 2017-2012). The issue was discussed and voted on by the plenary of the CHE on Tuesday.

  1. Target for increasing the number of students:According to the target, growth of 75% in the number of Bedouin students beginning undergraduate studies is anticipated. Based on this target, in 2022, approximately 1,500 Bedouin students will begin first-year studies, compared to approximately 850 students today (2017).
  2. Subject goals to encourage the study of high-demand professions:According to these targets, in 2002, the percentage of Bedouin students studying mathematics and sciences will grow from 2% to 7%; the percentage of engineering and architecture students will grow from 4% to 8%; in medicine and paramedicine, the percentage of students will grow from 6% to 10%, and in law, business administration and the social sciences, the percentage of Bedouin students will grow from 10% to 15%.

In contrast, the CHE and PBC will act to reduce the percentage of students studying education and the humanities from 63% to only 40% in 2022.


In the meeting of the CHE (Tuesday) and further to the meeting of the PBC on the same issue, the plenum of the Council for Higher Education approved the recommendation of the interministerial team (which was established pursuant to a government resolution) to expand the Gateway to Academia pilot to additional educational institutions in southern Israel.


Let us emphasize that the program includes, among other things, a wide range of support, beginning with preacademic preparation –

  • Tuition grants and financial assistance, living stipend, transportation and more.
  • Tutoring in Hebrew and English
  • Study skills
  • Tutoring in the relevant subject areas
  • Personal mentoring and study in small classes
  • Completion of the degree in four years, instead of three, with the first year done separately.


The CHE and PBC note that the difficulties Bedouin students have integrating into academia are attributable, among other things, to knowledge gaps and study skills during high school, including poor command of Hebrew and English, and gaps due to low socioeconomic status, cultural differences, issues related to physical access and more.