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    06 April

    | 2021 | 14:00

    Integrating the Ultra-Orthodox Community in Higher Education

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    • Online
    • Invites Only
    • Online
    Integrating the Ultra-Orthodox Community in Higher Education

    Integrating the Ultra-Orthodox Community in Higher Education

    On 6 April 2021, officeholders responsible for integrating ultra-Orthodox students at institutions of higher education attended a roundtable session to mark the conclusion of a study on the subject that examines existing attempts at integration and identifies areas for improvement going forward. It was commissioned by the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage, as part of the Jubilee Plan studies.

    Among the participants in the roundtable were heads of ultra-Orthodox branches of higher education institutions, academic consultants, admissions coordinators, deans and more, most of whom were also interviewed for the study itself. 25 in-depth interviews were conducted in total: 6 with policy makers and 19 with officeholders in academia. The study also incorporated analysis of administrative data. 

    Presenting existing challenges

    See the presentation from the meeting (Hebrew)

    The session began with a presentation of the findings from the study—the existing challenges, conclusions and recommendations for changes in five core areas: pre-academic prep programs, integration in studies, dropout rates, preparation for integration into the workforce, and national and municipal policy. See Presentation (Hebrew).





    Most of the time was devoted to an open discussion on the implications of the data that was presented and practical measures moving forward to improve the situation.

    Pre-academic prep
    • Providing reliable and up-to-date information on pathways into academia—creating an organized information sheet on existing institutions and academic tracks for the ultra-Orthodox community in Israel (digital and printed).
    • Examining the use of personal suitability assessments to assist with selecting academic tracks.
    • Learning about placement courses, where successful completion offers an exemption from the pre-academia prep programs.
    • Discussion with a national perspective on expected reforms of prep programs.
    Academic tracks
    • Opening academic programs for allied health professions and overcoming barriers with the Ministry of Health.
    • Generating an education continuum  from women’s seminaries to academia and offering academic credit for seminary studies. This includes collaboration between the Council for Higher Education (CHE) and the Government Institute for Technology and Science Training (MAHAT) to improve the academic quality of the seminaries.
    Strong English-language skills
    • Continuing to examine ways to boost ultra-Orthodox students’ English-language skills (e.g. with volunteers).
    • Funding English courses.
    Supervision and oversight 
    • Identifying ‘who is ultra-Orthodox’ on the main campuses—receiving data from the CBS regarding the number of ultra-Orthodox students, segmented by field of study, to facilitate the identification process.
    • Hiring an employment coordinator for the ultra-Orthodox students at every ultra-Orthodox institution and branch.
    Inter-institutional collaborations
    • Setting up a forum for the officeholders at the institutions responsible for ultra-Orthodox students, together with the coordinator for ultra-Orthodox students at the CHE.
    • Using online groups to provide information and share knowledge.
    • Peer learning. E.g. using existing models (operational and budgetary) to create connections between the main campus and the ultra-Orthodox branch.
    • Identifying topics where it is possible to provide a shared solution among several institutions, to reduce costs and increase efficacy and suitability.

    For more information