The Council for Higher Education convened Tuesday to decide whether to upgrade the status Ariel College to that of a university.
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The debate sparked controversy in both the educational system and the political arena.
The CHE's Planning and Budgeting Committee had previously rejected the college's bid for a statue upgrade.
"This will undoubtedly be a heated debate," committee member Dr. Abraham Rochali, said. "This is a very difficult decision and it's hard to predict the outcome.
Ariel College (Archives)
"My perceptive is academic and professional. In the national scheme of things it's important to consider the needs of Israel's higher education system."
The heads of the seven declared universities in Israel sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to keep the decision on the possible status upgrade of the Ariel College "politics free."
Amid the political controversy, staffers at the Ariel College said that should the academic center be denied an upgraded status, they will resign.
"It seems as though some members of the Higher Education Council's planning committee want us to go to research centers in the US, but we like it here and gave our souls to the institution. We do not plan on leaving," Nir Shvalb of the center's Department of Industrial Engineering said
Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar however, announced endorsed the bid, saying that the upgrade "would suit the policy which was outlined in a cabinet decision on the matter over seven years ago."
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