More ultra-Orthodox women than men enrolled in higher education

Ultra-Orthodox participation in institutions of higher education surged in 2014 but only 2 percent attend universities.

Haaretz, Israel/July 16, 2015

By Lior Dattel

Overall ultra-Orthodox enrolment in institutions of higher education surged to an all-time high of 10,000 in 2014, the study by the Haifa-based Samuel Neaman Institute for National Policy Research found. But the Council for Higher Education has failed to achieve its target of integrating substantially larger numbers of ultra-Orthodox students at the country’s universities, as opposed to smaller and sometimes more specialized colleges.

“The Haredi population as a whole is still not interested in acquiring a higher education, and the program has not managed to change this reality,” according to the report.

The Council on Higher Education program encourages institutions to set up special tracks that are adapted to the needs of ultra-Orthodox students, including gender-separated classes and even the establishment of separate campuses within the college or university. The government provides tuition subsidies, sometimes including full scholarships, for participating students.

Fourteen special programs have been established, many geared towards professional education, including computer sciences and paramedical training. Of the 10,000 ultra-Orthodox students studying in schools of higher learning last year, the study found, 60 percent were women and only 2 percent were at universities.

The CHE said that the university-based programs continue to expand. With regard to the program as a whole, it said the number of ultra-Orthodox students in higher education has expanded substantially since its inception and its success needs to be judged over the longer term.

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