Academic Commando program launched

IDF to provide combat soldiers with free year of university.

May 16, 2010 13:07
1 minute read.
barak and peres with soldiers at academic commando

Academic commando 311. (photo credit: GPO)

President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar and Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi launched the new Academic Commando project at the President’s residence on Sunday.

The Academic Commando program gives combat soldiers a free year of academic studies at colleges in the periphery. 50 soldiers are already participating in the program, in which they go through four months of intensive studies that are equivalent to a year of college studies in engineering, physics, computer sciences or chemistry.

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At the ceremony, Peres praised Barak and Ashkenazi, saying “you dared to bring totally new ideas into the IDF, and you are the first to turn it into a first-class scientific army.”

“This step looks small today,” Peres said, “but it is one of the greatest things the State of Israel is doing, and is a necessary step in strengthening the IDF.”

In his speech at the ceremony, which the program's participants attended, Barak said “we are taking a significant step towards the future,” and called the soldiers “insurance and the guarantee of Israel’s technological and scientific advantage.” Barak said the IDF hopes that many soldiers will join the Academic Commando program and begin studying for their BA during their military service.

The program is funded by the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Defense and the LIBI fund, and was inspired by a similar program run by NASA.

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