The Knesset Committee on Education, Culture and Sports met on Wednesday to discuss assistance for the thousands of IDF reservists called to leave their university studies and serve in the IDF.
The discussion was held at the request of the National Union of Israeli Students and students from Hakikar Hamerkazit (“Central Square”), an NGO dedicated to connecting citizens and the Knesset.
The National Union of Israeli Students called on the Council for Higher Education to issue clear guidelines academic institutions regarding students serving in the IDF. Their demands included additional time for exams, three dates for final exams, the possibility of using the highest score, and pass/fail grades.
“We, as the CHE, do not want to provide uniform guidance to all institutions because of the multiplicity and diversity of cases,” Michal Neumann, a representative of the CHE, said in response. “However, we will not allow for a situation, and that is our pledge, that a student who went to reserves or his/her spouse will not finish the academic year because of the war.”
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev announced on Wednesday it had created a $1 million campaign to help its students in the reserves. Approximately 1,000 students and faculty have been called for reserve duty since the start of Operation Protective Edge, the university estimated.
According to the university, students from BGU are at a “distinct disadvantage” compared to others due to the cancellation of all academic courses during the operation because of the rocket fire on Beersheba.
While most soldiers returning to studies at other institutions will have to “catch up,” at BGU they will be expected to return to a full schedule of courses along with their classmates who did not serve.
Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan announced late on Tuesday night it would award scholarships toward tuition for all students called up for service in Operation Protective Edge.
Last week, Tel Aviv University announced a similar initiative to award scholarships toward tuition for the 2014/2015 academic year to hundreds of students who were called to duty.