Higher Education Opportunities for the Ultra-Orthodox Community
Higher Education Opportunities for the Ultra-Orthodox ("Haredi") Community at Hadassah Academic College
In 2012, the Israel Council for Higher Education issued a call to all colleges and universities to propose special undergraduate degree tracks for “Haredi” men and women. The purpose of the initiative is to encourage the ultra-Orthodox to pursue a career-focused academic education, respecting their way of life and enabling full and productive integration in the workforce. The initiative is instrumental in ensuring a better future for the students’ families and the Haredi community while strengthening Israel’s economic and social base.
Hadassah Academic College in Jerusalem is a pioneer of the initiative. Its program opened in 2013 with the first pre-academic preparatory programs and only three years later, with 800 students enrolled for the 2015/16 academic year, no fewer than 54% of all Haredi students enrolled in the national "Machar" initiative study at Hadassah and the number of students will increase to 1,000. Students begin studies with a one-year preparatory program and separate studies for men and women. Frontal lectures take place on a separate mini-campus located at the edge of Jerusalem's Haredi neighborhood of Mea Sha'arim, a short walk from the main campus and laboratory and clinical studies are conducted on the main campus.
The unique Haredi program at Hadassah features cultural adaptations and six BA tracks with the same requirements as the college’s general program: biotech, optometry, computer science, service organization management, politics and communication, hearing and speech therapy, with plans for Economics and Accounting. The college urgently needs to complete additional facilities for use by the Haredi program. This includes state-of-the-art biotech teaching laboratories and an optometry teaching clinic with six examination lanes. Most of the funds for construction have already been secured and all costs associated with the maintenance and equipping of the new facilities will be covered by the college's ongoing operations budget.
The first classes of Haredi students to complete one-year preparatory programs are now entering undergraduate studies. The new biotech teaching laboratories and optometry teaching clinic will greatly enhance the pioneering, successful integration of the ultra-orthodox population in the professional workforce, with enormous impact on the fast-growing sector and the economy and aiding the development of a pluralist contemporary society inclusive of secular, traditional, observant and ultra-Orthodox Jews, immigrants and minorities, interacting in an atmosphere of mutual respect as they acquire the skills and knowledge that will serve them and the country well. All ultra-Orthodox students at the college and all come from difficult socioeconomic circumstances.
The Israel Council for Higher Education
The cost of building this teaching laboratory floor is $1.6 million. An amount of $300,000 is needed to complete the project.