The Hebrew University.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
University students now have the option to take required English courses online for free, the Council for Higher Education announced on Tuesday.
“Today we are taking a small step which will save thousands of shekels for students in Israel.
In 2016 it is possible to reduce the cost of living for students in creative ways, and this is certainly one of them,” said Education Minister and head of the council Naftali Bennett.
“From today, English courses, which cost students a lot of time and money, can be taken from home and for free, at the cost of the exam only,” he said.
As part of the new initiative, students will be able to take online courses offered by the Open University in accordance with the level of English required by the academic institution – from pre-basic level to advanced level courses.
“In order to facilitate the students’ English language proficiency preparation for undergraduate studies in higher education institutions, we are helping them to study for free, wherever and whenever they choose, as an additional option to the options available to them today at the various institutions,” said Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats, chairwoman of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education.
“The courses have been developed by the Open University and provide the best response to the different levels of knowledge, with the exception of the requirement for the highest level, that of an exemption,” she added.
The courses were developed to include both video lectures and basic exercises as well as provide interactive assessment and feedback through the use of advanced technological tools.
The Council for Higher Education noted that the new initiative provides an additional option for students, while academic institutions will continue to offer traditional classroom- taught English courses.
Gilad Arditi, head of the National Union of Israeli Students said the union had insisted on a “meaningful resolution” regarding the costs of learning English and praised the new decision.
“There is recognition by the state of the importance of reducing the cost of living among students and of the state’s responsibility in improving access to the system. Along with this, there is an opening for the future for a more meaningful use of technology for various [fields of] study,” he said.