Higher education systems all
over the world are currently occupied with the crucial problems of
equal opportunity and accessibility in the tertiary level. The paper
focuses on the perennial issue of center and periphery in higher
education. It takes Israel as a case in point.
Like many other Western
countries Israel is undergoing a speedy process of what is termed
'massification of the higher education system'. The inauguration
of fully accredited public and private colleges as well as the
academisation of the teaching profession brought about a dramatic
increase in the enrolment of degree programs. During the 1980s and
the 1990s the number of students in Israel tripled and the odds of
attending a higher education institution grew by 50 per cent.
The paper poses several
pertinent questions in this respect. a) Has the recent
transformation in the Israeli higher education system really
increased the odds of higher education attendance? b) Has it indeed
reduced social selection processes in higher education? c) Has it
really equalised opportunity to attain access to the most desirable
fields of study?
The paper tries to answer
these questions first by analysing available data published by the
CBS (Central Bureau of Statistics) and second by analysing data
pertaining to the largest public college in the country.
It arrives at a cautious
conclusion that the system did increase the odds of higher
education. It reduced social selection in higher education. It also
enhanced opportunities to attain access to the most desirable fields
of study. Peripheral populations definitely benefited from the
establishment of a binary system of higher education in Israel.
education, equal opportunity, peripheral populations, social
selection, accessibility to tertiary education