Students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is weighing the idea of changing the language of instruction in some of its degree programs from Hebrew to English. This could be the first step towards making English the language of instruction for undergraduate degrees as well, first in the natural sciences and later in the humanities and social sciences. A decision by the Hebrew University to switch to English would set an example for other institutions of higher education in Israel, and later – for high schools that want to project an image of one-upmanship. There are clear justifications for this step: mastery of English has become a sine qua non for membership in the global community and would increase Israelis’ competitiveness. University faculties would be internationalized, and their classrooms would be filled by students from all over the world (with the economic benefits that come with their presence).
However, a switch from Hebrew to English would mean that we have turned our back on an important aspect of the national renaissance and would have serious repercussions on our local culture.
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