Israel is preparing a NIS 300 million investment into higher education for its minorities.
Under the programme, institutions will have to offer remedial Hebrew courses, translate their websites into Arabic and make special counselling available to Arab students, or risk losing funds.
The Council for Higher Education (CHE) will also open 25 information centres in the Arab sector by 2016 to offer advice to prospective students.
Noa Binstein, who works in the budgetary department of the CHE and helped produce the report, said bringing more Arab students into higher education “will allow them to pursue a greater variety of careers and present new opportunities that they would not be able to attain otherwise”.
Ms Binstein also said that there has been a continuous, annual increase of Arab students in higher education in recent years.
“Success in higher education is a stepping stone to almost everything you can think of in society; in particular better income and better integration into Israeli society.
Amnon Be’er-Sulitzeani, executive director of the Abraham Fund Initiatives in Israel, which works to advance co-operation between Jews and Arabs, said that, while the report paints a troubling picture of inequality, it is also encouraging in that it shows the CHE takes the matter very seriously.
“Success in higher education is a stepping stone to almost everything you can think of in society; in particular better income and better integration into Israeli society. The ripple effect is huge and can have a great influence on our society, not just on the Arab sector,” he said.
Meanwhile, a report compiled by the CHE states that only 11.3 per cent of undergraduate students are Arabs, even though they represent around 20 per cent of the general population. Furthermore, Arabs represent only seven per cent of master’s degree students, three per cent of doctoral students and a mere two per cent of academic staff members.
The report also says that Arab students are less likely to get accepted by universities than their Jewish counterparts, and more likely to finish their degrees late, or drop out altogether.