Hebrew University will be the first in Israel to accept Palestinian Authority-issued matriculation (bagrut) certificates as criteria for student enrollments, the university has announced. The move is expected to substantially increase the number of Arab students at the university, as many of the residents of Arab neighborhoods of Yerushalayim attend PA-sponsored schools where they receive these certificates. A pilot program over the next several years will admit a limited number of these students, and if the pilot is successful, the program will be expanded.
Until now, the PA certificate – known as the Tawaje – was accepted as a criteria for university enrollment if the student enrolled in remedial courses, as it was not considered sufficient to ensure that the students could do college-level work. A student could skip the remedial courses if they scored high on psychometric tests, another condition of acceptance to Israeli universities.
The university has received many requests from students who scored well on the Tawaje, and several students have filed lawsuits demanding that the university recognize the test as it does the Israeli matriculation test results. It has decided, after some research, to accept students who scored 90 or better on the test without requiring remedial courses.
“We are in Jerusalem, and there are many students in east Jerusalem whom we would like to see studying here,” said Professor Assaf Friedler, deputy rector of the university. “This is a historic change, but the university has not publicized this change, so many people have not heard about it.”