Brain gain bid seeks to double number of international students in Israel

Higher Education Council launches program aimed at scholars from North America, India, China; earmarks funds for recruitment, courses in English

Luke Tress is a JTA reporter and a former editor and reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

Illustrative: Students on the University of Haifa campus, April 11, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Illustrative: Students on the University of Haifa campus, April 11, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The Council for Higher Education has launched a program that seeks to double the number of international students studying in Israel’s colleges and universities.

The “Study in Israel” initiative, officially announced earlier this month, will initially focus on increasing enrollment of students from North America, China and India, the council said in a statement.

There are about 12,000 international students currently studying at Israeli institutions, the council said.

The program pitches what it says are Israel’s high academic standards, startup environment, research opportunities and low tuition costs.

“We have committed to making Israel a brain gain country for excellent students and researchers from around the world — North and South America, Europe, and Asia,” said Professor Yaffa Zilbershats of the Council for Higher Education. “We’re looking forward to bringing many more students from around the globe in years to come.”

The initiative’s website provides a search engine for prospective students to find a suitable program based on their preferred institution, degree level and area of study, and has information on applying for study programs, acquiring a visa and securing funding.

The Council for Higher Education recently approved 26 new international degree programs at Israeli institutions in fields including entrepreneurship, Middle Eastern studies, agriculture and environmental studies.

The council also earmarked funds for public colleges and universities to market and recruit international students, open new English-language courses and provide better student services for international attendees.

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