The Finance and Economy and Trade ministries agreed on Sunday to allocate an additional NIS 110 million to technological colleges.

The move ended weeks of negotiations with the the Forum of Technological Colleges.

Some 53 technological institutions across the country went on strike at the start of the academic year earlier this month and called for the government to allocate more funds to their activity.

The colleges had originally requested that the Treasury approve a budget of NIS 140m.

to be distributed over five years to technical education, NIS 80m. of which would be allocated for the current academic year.

After several discussions held between the parties, the Finance Ministry had only agreed to a budget of NIS 90m., a solution which had been rejected by most of the institutions except for the technology colleges belonging to the education group ORT.

Sunday’s agreement stated that the newly allocated funds, which represent a 70 percent increase in budget, will be distributed over six years.

Moreover, students enrolled in technological colleges will also be included in the financial aid fund of the Council for Higher Education’s Planning and Budgeting Committee, making them eligible to receive scholarships and grants in the amount of NIS 6m. over two years, which used to be reserved to students in academic tracks.

Some NIS 4m. have already been allocated for the purpose for this academic year.

In addition, it was agreed that the technological colleges’ students’ tuitions will not be increased and will be matched to the fees of universities in the country.

In terms of students’ rights, technological institutions will be allowed to implement retests for exams, which already exist in academic tracks. Students serving in the reserves and pregnant students will also receive the same benefits as their academic counterparts.

“Today we are making history in technological education,” Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday.

“We have started a revolution with the goal that every young person will prefer to go to technological schools.”

Bennett also called on young people to study technological subjects instead of law.

Ori Reshtick, chairman of the National Union of Israeli Students and who mediated the negotiations between the Treasury and the Forum of Technical Colleges, said that Sunday’s agreement “ensures that the status of technological students will be comparable to that of the students in academic institutions.

“The student population displayed public responsibility and determination throughout the fight and together we saved technological education in Israel,” he said.

Forum head Dr. Yocheved Pinhasi-Adiv praised Reshtick for his involvement in the process and said that the consensus will “improve the training of engineers for the benefit of industry and the economy of Israel.”

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