Number of Arab Israelis Earning PhDs Has Doubled

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 |  David Lazarus

The Council for Higher Education in Israel confirms that Arab Israelis far exceed even the most conservative estimates of their advancements in Israeli society. In the face constant fake news reports of Israel’s “unfair” treatment of her Arab citizens, high priority is given to ensure that young Israeli Arabs are acquiring higher education.

The data shows that 627,480 Arab students studied in Israel in all degrees, thanks the Council’s investment to integrate the Arab population into Israel’s society and improve their socio-economic standing. The number of Arab PhD candidates has doubled over the past decade. The Council, which operates under the auspices of Minister of Education Minister Naphtali Bennet, had set specific goals to increase the representation of Arabs in higher education to be achieved by 2022. The Council’s report confirms that these goals have already been achieved and surpassed in 2019, three years earlier than the original plan.

The sharp growth in Arab students pursuing higher education is in large part due to the comprehensive program initiated by the Council. The program operates in 45 communities and villages and provides opportunities, information, counseling and guidance towards academic studies for Arab students. They also provide support and training to help high school students pass the university psychometric entrance exams. As part of the pre-academic preparatory courses and bachelor’s degree programs, Arab students receive academic, economic and social support. Career centers were also established within institutions of higher learning to give students opportunity to consider a variety of professional career choices during their years of study. There are also numerous scholarships for Arab students rewarded on the basis of their socioeconomic status and chosen fields of study.

The Council for Higher Education’s report was released in recognition of 60 years since it was established in 1958. The overall budget of the Council, which serves students from every background, is six billion NIS per year, which is then transferred to the public universities and colleges.

An important goal of the Council is to provide access to Arab and other minority populations in Israel to higher education. There are also scholarships for the absorption of outstanding faculty members and scientists into key positions.

Israel is in second place, just behind Canada and ahead of the US, for the number of students from all backgrounds in higher education.

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