An open-ended strike by the faculty at Israel’s technical colleges ended Sunday, after Finance Ministry representatives and a group of college heads struck a budget deal for the schools.
The deal, brokered by representatives from the National Union of Israeli Students, stipulates that an additional NIS 110 million ($31 million) be added to the budget for the country’s 53 trade schools, spread out over six years, plus an additional NIS 10 million ($2.8 million) earmarked for schools located in peripheral areas, Army Radio reported on Sunday.
The agreement also stipulates that technical colleges begin receiving from the state funding in proportion to the number of students enrolled at each school, a budgetary change that will be rolled out in stages.
On October 20, faculty at Israel’s technical colleges began an open-ended strike, the latest move in a showdown with the Finance Ministry over the budget for the country’s trade schools.
The colleges initially asked the ministry to approve an emergency budget of NIS 140 million ($40 million), NIS 80 million of which to be earmarked for the current academic year and the rest which would be allocated to the schools over five years. The Finance Ministry offered in return an increased budget of NIS 90 million, distributed evenly over five years.
The impasse came to a head two weeks ago after college staff staged a multi-day hunger strike outside the Knesset. The colleges said that government funding for students of technical colleges is only 25 percent of what is given to universities for their students, and that their general budgets have not changed over the last 30 years, leading to outdated equipment and facilities.