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Commentary: The cuts in higher education threaten the future of the State of Israel

In the long run we will all die, so why do we need higher education? At least that's what the biennial budget proposal for 2017-2018 shows.

Higher education in Israel. Illustration: shutterstock
Higher education in Israel. Illustration: shutterstock

In the long run we will all die, so why do we need higher education? At least that's what the biennial budget proposal for 2017-2018 shows.

The biennial budget entails another cut of approximately NIS 100 million in the higher education budget. After the cut, the budget for the 2017-2018 academic year will be NIS 10.5 billion. The cut will be made in the basis of the budget of the higher education system, so that it will actually be repeated in every future budget.

In addition, the Treasury plans to cut an additional NIS 500 million from the next five-year plan for the higher education system. The program is designed to improve academia in Israel through incentives to return researchers from abroad, improving the quality of teaching and expanding the integration of Israeli Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox sector in higher education settings. The cut in the five-year plan budget will be spread over 5 years.

The Chairman of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education, Prof. Yaffe Zilbrashtz, said that damage to the budget of the higher education system is a direct damage to the students, the ability to recruit quality faculty and the building of the research infrastructure.

According to Prof. Zilbrashtz, the higher education system is the basic framework for the State of Israel's ability to be at the forefront of the world in medicine, science and technology, art and humanities, economics and industry.
The budget was built layer upon layer to allow the skeleton to be solid and firm and carry on its back the development necessary to achieve all the goals.

The budget also ensures the quality of teaching while emphasizing innovation in teaching for the well-being of students as well as making higher education accessible to all strata of the population in Israel and enabling lifelong learning.

Commentary: A dangerous cut / Avi Blizovsky

As I recall, it was only recently published A report of the Central Bureau of Statistics according to which the balance between the number of scientists returning to the country and the number of scientists leaving the country is negative. One of the reasons for this is the lack of standards and opportunities to absorb scientists. This threatens the leadership of Israeli universities, which are required to compete in an environment where scientific fields are advancing and changing, and it is important to inject new blood into the system. Committees upon committees have warned against this stagnation, but the Ministry of Finance is apparently not interested in the long term, as the well-known saying states: "In the long term, we will all die."

It is true, reforms need to be made all the time everywhere, even in universities, efficiency can still be increased, but it would not be fair that any such improvement would go back into higher education instead of going to other entities in the economy, which, with all due respect, contribute little to the Israeli economy. and even negative.

This cut comes at a time when the world of work is changing completely, professions, even those of university graduates, are disappearing in favor of robots. The artificial intelligence, or the cognitive computing that today are used as advisors to experts, allowing them to add added value. Already today there are reports from different parts of the world about robot lawyers and even robot surgeons.

But even the high-tech that brought us these improvements (thanks to the education they acquired in the universities) is unstable, every day a company comes and makes an Uber for an entire market. At a time like this, not only should the future of the universities not be cut, but they must be strengthened. Many professions will require continuous higher education for life, to keep up with the changes, and even this may not be enough.

Seclusion in the ivory tower that does not contribute to the image

Nevertheless, at least from my point of view, in my interfaces with the higher education system, the universities are also to blame. They ignore the need for public backing and think that some lobbyists will sort things out for them with the treasury, but it won't work. Without public support, it is impossible to face such cuts. And public support will certainly not arise if the universities are still stuck in the way of working and thinking of the print era, and not of the digital and social networks.

In England, for example, 65 universities joined together with the Royal Society, the Walkcom Foundation and other public bodies to establish the British edition of Theconversation = - a news site that brings the information directly from the content producers - the researchers, both in the fields of science and in the fields of society and spirit. Universities and private companies are also partners in the American edition. This is just an example of getting out of the ivory tower that needs to be done at different levels - not just "science in the wild".

The universities in the USA, Great Britain, Australia, France and South Africa) do not just do this as a contribution to the community (in the five editions 90 editors work together), they struggle with alternative education systems of distance learning, at a fraction of the tuition fees they charge, and others to respond to this. One of the biggest assets they have in front of the new universities is the vast knowledge base that has been built up over hundreds of years (see "Are the universities in danger and is this inevitable, Prof. Yossi Raanan's lecture from the College of Administration.

Recalculate route

We haven't made much progress since mocking the "professors" became bon ton. It will take a long time to restore the public's trust in the universities, the absence of which allows the treasury to easily cut the meat. The current cut should be opposed, at least to stop the deterioration, which came after a lost decade - the first decade of the 21st century. At the same time, the universities need to recalculate a new course in regards to their involvement in the daily lives of the citizens, so that the government can no longer ignore them and see them as a source of cuts.
Governments may love stupid citizens, but in Israel it is a luxury we cannot afford, because our very existence depends on our qualitative advantage against our enemies, this must be taken into account even if the person who will benefit from the investments today is the person who will be the head of the government in 20-30 years.

11 תגובות

  1. Hebrew, which for years maintained a high and high place in Israel in the 100 lists such as the Shanghai list, dropped 20 places in the ranking this year. Precisely because she has debt, which prevents her from hiring young lecturers who are the engine of highly cited articles. A country that sees academic education as an asset will invest and advance itself. A country where education is the burden of education will fall and the country will also be backward. I happened to see representatives of such a country: in that country the entire country, but it all belongs to 4 oligarchs. There is nothing besides that, but there is also no export and the standard of living is low.

  2. to comet:
    Software that replaces lawyers currently exists in two main configurations:
    1. Software that automatically knows how to locate legal precedents
    2. Software that, based on keywords, knows how to give basic answers to basic legal questions for the general public
    These two programs replace attorneys who dealt in relatively basic and "grey" areas.

  3. To Adam Adom: And who will build the robots? Ivy?
    To Snofkin: There is indeed a huge change in teaching methods. But the Ministry of Education is still in the past. We need to promote computerized learning methods and teach the teaching force in schools and universities how to teach with new methods. All this requires more money. But with the method of constantly reducing budgets for education, the teaching force is poor and lacks the ability to learn or teach.
    Liusi: In Europe they understand that every university graduate earns more throughout his life and pays more taxes. He returns the tuition fees to the state with compound interest. And it also indirectly raises the economic level of those without an academic education.

  4. There are very few things that cannot be learned from video lessons on the Internet, at least in the first degree.
    In addition, the budgetary pension system in universities takes most of the budget.
    Add these two facts and you will get the answer to why more money will not solve the problem. Maybe the budget reduction will make the universities become more efficient, god knows they should.

  5. From the article: "Professions, even for university graduates, are disappearing in favor of robots." If indeed this is the case and indeed it seems so, this is actually a reason to give less budgets to universities... not more budgets...

  6. In all of Europe, every citizen is entitled to free studies of any academic degree. They do not believe that an academic education is a burden on the citizen. In Germany, a citizen who wants to develop photovoltaics receives a grant of up to 30,000 euros for energy storage batteries. And there is more and more. In Israel, the government believes that there is no tomorrow. Anything that doesn't have an oligarch brand on it, they don't invest anything in it. There is no tomorrow in the suicidal sense. Kahlon also turns out to be the destroyer of health insurance. We do not leave our children any chance to be a free people in our country. Nationally and economically free. The world sees that everyone is building a future, both in Asia and Europe. Let's say the founding generation sold Strauss, Tnuva, Lehbi Yishchar, Teva, Amdocs, Combers, Keter Plastik for easy money in the present. We sell the future.

  7. We should not only cut higher education, but simply cancel all amounts earmarked for education. That way there will be much more money left for corruption. This is of utmost importance. For example, why in MAZ will most of the money go to corruption and the red roads will remain red? With the cuts in higher education, there will be money in the MAZ both for corruption and for improving red roads (of course by companies of close associates).

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