Gov’t to Promote Higher Education for Ethiopian Immigrants

YERUSHALAYIM -
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a memorial ceremony in remembrance of Jewish Ethiopians who fell on their trip from Ethiopian to Israel, on Mount Herzl, May 17, 2015. Photo by Gil Yochanan/POOL
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu attends a memorial ceremony in remembrance of Jewish Ethiopians who fell on their trip from Ethiopian to Israel, in 2015. (Gil Yochanan/POOL)

The Committee on Higher Education will invest NIS 100 million in order to provide scholarships and assistance to Israel’s Ethiopian Jewish population in order to attend college. The announcement was made after a study emerged that only 31 percent of Ethiopian immigrants or their children achieved matriculation (bagrut) certificates, required for university acceptance – as opposed to 63 percent of the general Israeli population.

The study indicated that many Ethiopian-background students have a hard time speaking and writing Hebrew and English, and that their language skills in general were weak. In addition, many were ignorant of programs to assist them, such as tutoring programs and the like. And, of course, many families do not have the money to pay university tuition, which amounts to around NIS 10,000 a year.

A total of 2,496 Ethiopian-background students are currently enrolled in Israeli universities and colleges, the study showed. The Council’s plan will be to aim for an increase of 50 percent in the number of students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs, and a 30 percent increase in those enrolled in master’s degree program, it said.