Education Minister Sa'ar - supports discrimination?
Photo: Eedo Erez
Hiddush CEO - Rabbi Regev - "Who empowered the ministry?"
Photo: Limor Edri

State scholarships for haredi students support segregation

Condition included in fine print of scholarship criteria in ministry ad published in haredi newspapers

Discrimination, Education Ministry style: Only haredim who study at colleges that separate between men and women will be eligible for State scholarships, those who choose to study at "regular" universities will be forced to do without them.


The outrageous condition is included within the scholarship criteria, in the fine print of an education ministry ad, published last week in haredi newspapers.


The ministry confirmed that the ad was published on its behalf. The Hiddush organization for religious freedom and equality came out against the discrimination. The organization's CEO Uri Regev said, "It's unclear who empowered the ministry as the modesty watch."


The ministry gives out scholarships to haredi students, on the condition that they study at academic institutions where there is complete separation between the sexes.


The heading of the ad reads, "An enterprise to promote and encourage higher education in the haredi sector by offering scholarships in appropriate courses" and states that "the student must study in a system that separates men and women according to the following terms – in the same building, studying on different days or in separate buildings and classrooms".


Worthy goal, unworthy execution

The condition means that the only students who will receive aid are those who will study on haredi campuses, including the Kiryat Ono College and the Haredi College in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, students who will choose to study in any of Israel's other universities or colleges will be ineligible.


The ministry ad also states that it wishes to encourage the haredi public to gain an academic education in order to ease its integration into the workforce. Additional conditions for those seeking a scholarship include: a bachelors degree in a school recognized by the board of higher education and tuition of more than NIS 8,000 ($2,209) and less than NIS 30,000 ($8,284). It also states that the scholarship would be no more than 33% of the total annual tuition fees.


Ynet reports that the NIS 5,000,000 ($1,400,000) government funded scholarship is being offered for the second year running, to haredi students, with the clear knowledge that most haredi students study at academic institutions that segregate between the sexes.


Wording gives preferential treatment

By publishing the ad the government wishes to encourage students to study at academic institutions by highlighting the fact that separate courses are an option for those seeking to study with the aid of a scholarship. However, the wording of the ad seems to give segregating institutions preferential treatment.


Hiddush CEO Rabbi Uri Regev added that "there is no stranger way to implement the important national cause of academic studies for the haredi population in Israel when outside of Israel the haredim study at mixed universities and their graduates become doctors, lawyers and scientists."


Regev notes that the ad's claim that the ministry is willing to finance up to NIS 30,000 of the tuition could encourage haredi institutions to increase their fees as the ad doesn't mention that receiving the scholarship depends on the student's income.


According to Regev, the result will be that rich haredim will be the ones who end up receiving the scholarship. "Financing haredi institutions and those who choose to study in segregated programs will not encourage and aid haredi higher education, it is grievous sabotage which will turn these justified scholarships into illegal scholarships", Regev warned and called on Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar to amend the conditions immediately.



פרסום ראשון: 11.07.10, 09:53
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