Students in a classroom [Illustrative].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Tens of thousands of students waited hours to take the national exams at the technological colleges around the country on Thursday, according to the National Union of Israeli Students (NUIS).
Student unions at the colleges told the NUIS that the exams arrived at least half an hour late to the colleges and students were waiting an hour-and-a-half to start their exams.
The unions also told the NUIS that the exam supervisors arrived late at many of the campuses, did not receive proper briefings, and in some of the exams only one supervisor was present, even though the rules state that two supervisors must be present in each exam.
The lack of supervisors in some exams mean that students were not allowed to leave the room to use the restroom. In the Beersheba College, the Dean of Students volunteered to stand in the hallway and escort students to and from the restrooms.
"The technological education in Israel is neglected and the students [in technological studies] get second class treatment, despite the fact that these are the most required and essential professions on the market," said Gilad Arditi, Chairman of the National Union of Israeli Students.
There are 67 technological colleges operating across the country, in which some 30,000 students study.
The technological colleges operate under the auspices of the Institute for Technological Training at the Economy Ministry.
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Unlike other educational institutions in Israel, supervised by the Council for Higher Education, that can make up their own exams and choose exam dates independently, the Institute for Technological Training requires a standardized national test, similar to the matriculation exams in high schools, that all take place on the same day across the country.
According to the NUIS, the debacle with Thursday's exams highlighted the deficiencies in the conduct of the Institute for Technological Training, which led to a severe delay in the start of the exam.
The NUIS also pointed out that, unlike at institutions supervised by the Council for Higher Learning, students at the technological colleges who wish to appeal their exam score will not be able to do so at the college itself, but rather will have to make their way to the offices of the Institute for Technological Training in Tel Aviv to appear in front of a special committee, a process the NUIS called "a long and complicated bureaucratic process."
"This is not the first time serious shortcomings have been revealed in the conduct of the Institute for Technological Training and a thorough reform of the organization is required," said Arditi. "The distrust of the mechanism that supervises the colleges creates a cumbersome and impossible bureaucracy that feeds an inefficient and unprofessional mechanism."
The Institute for Technological Training could not be reached for comment.
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