Weizmann Institute protests learning council snub

Institute calls on Education Minister Sa'ar to rethink decision to leave school off Council for Higher Education.

February 20, 2012 03:10
1 minute read.
Weizmann Institute of Science

Weizmann Institute of Science 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot protested on Sunday against having not been invited to send a scientific representative this year as a member of the Council for Higher Education.

Prof. Eitan Domani, head of the institute’s scientific council, wrote to Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar that it was the first time this occurred since the council was established many years ago.

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The Council for Higher Education is the supreme body that sets government policy regarding institutions of higher learning – the universities and the colleges – and, through its powerful planning and budgeting committee – determines the amount of state allocations they receive.

Weizmann is “a center of excellence in mathematics, computer science, physics, chemistry and life sciences – and one out of every four Israelis who received a doctorate in these subjects is a Weizmann Institute graduate,” Domani said.

He continued that the Education Ministry’s omission of the institute “points to failure to give suitable weight to important aspects that it represents – excellence in scientific research and the training in outstanding researchers in these fields.” He said the council doesn’t have a single member who is an expert mathematics and physics, which “will harm the council’s ability to cope with the complicated challenges that the country’s academia faces in the coming years.”

The council recently reduced the number of its university representatives from 11 to only eight, he said. As the members “do not accurately represent the sciences,” Domani called on Sa’ar to rethink his decision.

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