New Project to Integrate Haredim in Higher Education

Council for Higher Education to invest NIS 180 million over next five years to establish appropriate frameworks for ultra-Orthodox, which will focus on specific professions.

The Council for Higher Education will invest NIS 180 million over the next five years to encourage Haredim to study and enter the workforce. The CHE approved the plan yesterday to make higher education more accessible to the ultra-Orthodox population.

The CHE will provide financial incentives to institutions of higher education to establish appropriate frameworks for Haredim, which will focus on specific professions. Among the proposals are scholarships, classrooms with separation between men and women, and special educational materials that take into account and bridge the large gaps in knowledge in certain subjects. The CHE will also increase the funding for colleges in Bnei Brak and Jerusalem that serve the Haredi community and allow them to accept more students.

Haredim at branch of Ono College in Israel.
David Bachar

The goal is to allow "every Haredi interested in acquiring a high-level profession to do so, while at the same time preserving their lifestyle, views and beliefs," said the CHE. The program is based on "mutual respect and recognition of the unique characteristics of the Haredi community, a high academic level and an emphasis on employment."

The CHE wants to remove the barriers to the ultra-Orthodox entering the world of higher education, and not only economic barriers. These include study habits and a lack of knowledge in many areas outside of religious studies.

Some 6,000 Haredi students studied in institutions of higher learning in the 2010-2011 school year, 3,500 of whom were women. Half of these students study in institutions that are not funded by the state, such as the ultra-Orthodox campus of the Ono Academic College, which has a special program for a law degree for Haredim.