Some 308,335 students will begin the 2013-2014 academic year on Sunday in 66
institutions of higher education.
That includes the seven research
universities, the Open University, 37 academic colleges and 21 colleges of
An estimated 236,770 of the students will be studying for
bachelor’s degrees, 192,770 of them in academic colleges and universities: 66%
in colleges, and 34% at universities’ main campuses, the Education Ministry
In addition, 59,700 students will be studying for master’s degrees,
an increase of 3.1% compared to last year.
The 2013-2014 academic year’s
budget will be NIS 8.9 billion, NIS 40 million of which will be used to make
facilities accessible to people with physical and sensory disabilities, the
The higher education system has undergone “dramatic
changes” in the past two decades, according to a report recently released by the
Council for Higher Education.
In the 1990s, it was characterized by rapid
growth and strong demand for academic studies with an increase in the number of
undergraduate students of 8.7% a year. The following decade, however, saw a
significant slowdown in the growth rate of the student population, which went
down to about 3.5% a year. The downturn, according to the CHE, was due to severe
Nevertheless, at the beginning of the present decade, higher
education was placed among the top national priorities, which has seen strong
demand for undergraduate studies, especially in academic colleges, the council
During a visit to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem last week,
Education Minister Shai Piron wished students and faculty a year of “learning,
education and success,” and called for a “general mobilization” in the field of
“First of all, we must strengthen the connection and
integration between the systems of education and higher education in Israel,” he
“Only thus can we effectively train university graduates capable of
competing at the global level.
“Education should be the most important
issue on our agenda. Israeli society made education a national priority, and we
are committed to this,” Piron said. “Every young person in Israel deserves the
opportunity to develop himself.”
During the tour, the minister expressed
his goals for the new academic year, which include deepening the connection
between society’s needs and the higher education system; broadening the
humanities curriculum; encouraging the best young students to choose the
teaching profession; creating a continuum between the education system and
higher education; and expanding access for the haredi population and minorities.