The Council for Higher Education has requested another extension to submit its decision on a tender for the establishment of an academic institution in an Arab locality, which was originally published at the beginning of 2016.
The Council for Higher Education announced that they have accepted Kirya Ono College’s decision to withdraw from their request to open a branch of the college in an Arab locality.
In response to a petition filed by the Mossawa Center through attorneys Muhand Nasser and Roi Blecher to the Supreme Court, the Council for Higher Education is requesting an extension to decide on who will gain the tender to establish the first accredited Arab academic institution in an Arab community. The petition also dealt with the permit initially given to Kiryat Ono College to establish a branch in an Arab locality without a published tender. The petition refers to the decisions taken by the Council, describing the protocol for decision-making as fundamentally flawed and a flagrant violation of the established rules.
Following the petition, the Council of Higher Education informed the Supreme Court that Kiryat Ono College will not receive permission to establish an academic institution in an Arab community. The Mossawa Center requested further clarifications regarding this decision.
The Mossawa Center continues to demand the establishment of a university and at least four colleges in Arab localities. The Council of Higher Education has over the years approved the establishment of 64 academic institutions across Israel. All of these institutions are under Jewish administration and even include the establishment of Ariel College in the illegal Jewish settlement of Ariel, while the Arab community continues to lack academic institutions. The Council of Higher Education has also made it difficult for those few institutions operating in Arab towns to receive funding and official recognition. Institutions, which requested to establish themselves as private institutions were asked to retract their request.
On Saturday April 21st the Mossawa Center and the High Follow up Committee for Arab Education, together with the Arab members of Knesset Education committee, held a discussion about making higher education accessible to Arab citizens. The participants discussed the issues of access to higher education in Israeli institutions, the integration of Arab academics into research and teaching institutions, the possibility of Arab students to study abroad and in the oPt, and the establishment of higher education institutions in Arab towns.
The increasing rate of Arab youth and the decline in the proportion of secular Jewish youth led to an increasing percentage of Arab students in universities and colleges. The Council for Higher Education has designed a plan to improve the accessibility of of Arab students in higher education in Israel, but the plan falls short to include the establishment of a research and higher education institution in an Arab community. Due to the challenges facing Arab youth in Israeli Universities and the lack of institutions in Arab localities approximatly 15,000 Arab students from Israel study in universities in the oPt, Jordan, and many other countries abroad.