A consortium led by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and comprised of several academic colleges has won the government tender to create a separate haredi higher education campus in the South.
The campus is set to open as soon as possible with a goal of studies beginning October 2024.
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the Sami Shamoon College of Engineering, Sapir Academic College, Kaye College of Education, Hemdat Academic College, and Ashkelon Academic College will offer independent degrees at a separate location that has yet to be determined.
According to Central Bureau of Statistics data from 2020, 30% of the haredi population of the country lives in the South.
The consortium will offer degrees in nursing, accounting, applied economics and management, technological marketing, education (including a teaching certificate), special education, industrial engineering and management, visual communications, software engineering, Talmud studies, computer science and social work.
“Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has offered underserved populations access to higher education since its founding and we are eager to extend the same opportunities to the haredi community,” BGU President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz said.
“Creating a haredi campus will not only contribute to the haredi communities who are thirsting for academia but will also contribute significantly to society at large.”
“Diversity in the employment market is a national mission that must be realized. We are happy to contribute from the knowledge and experience we have accumulated over the years with the establishment of an ultra-Orthodox campus in the city of Ashdod to integrate and advance ultra-Orthodox society in the Israeli labor market,” said Prof. Jehuda Haddad, Rector and Founder of SCE, Shamoon College of Engineering.
“Once again, the college will contribute from its experience and the resources and knowledge it has accumulated in training Haredi graduates in engineering professions. The common challenge of academic institutions in the south is important to society as a whole. I am confident that the joint move will reduce gaps in society, expand the employment opportunities of the haredi sector and contribute to increasing the productivity of the Israeli economy.”
Dr. Pinhas Haliwa, CEO of Ashkelon Academic College, noted that his institution “comes to Be’er-Sheva with extensive experience in training haredim in social work and computer science.”
Ben-Gurion University will offer pre-academic programs to help those who do not meet admissions requirements. The plan is to open the degree programs to women first and offer pre-academic programs to men to help them meet the acceptance thresholds.