EXCLUSIVE: Israel CHE calls for better post study work rights for foreign students

EXCLUSIVE: Israel CHE calls for better post study work rights for foreign students

In a positive statement for international students, Michal Neumann, the newly-appointed acting director general of the Council for Higher Education (CHE), has called for Israel to establish better post study work rights to attract more foreign students to the country.

In a conversation with Global Education Times, Neumann sounded upbeat about the country’s attractiveness amongst international students, and reaffirmed that positive moves such as better post study work rights, diversity on campus, and English-language courses, could elevate Israel’s standing as a study abroad destination.

Better post study work rights needed in Israel for foreign students

Neumann told Global Education Times that CHE was in talks with Israeli government ministries to relax working requirements for foreign students in order to support foreign students choosing to study abroad in Israel.

Israel’s A2 student visas currently allow foreign students to work “on-campus” within their fields (as research or teaching assistants) but prohibit working outside universities during their courses.

Neumann agreed that change is needed on this front.

Michal Neumann, Acting Director General of Israel’s Council for Higher Education (CHE), told Global Education Times: “There are post study work permits for students who complete degrees in Israel in high-tech fields.

“However, the CHE understands the importance of visa conditions and post-study work permits to international students and is in close contact with government ministries and agencies on the subject.

“We are hoping that there will be improvements in the future.”

Recently, Russia moved to grant foreign students the right to work during their studies in the country, having previously restricted employment outside the students’ host universities.

Neumann hopes to improve access and gender equity in Israeli HEIs

Michal Neumann, Acting Director general of the Israel Council for Higher Education (CHE) - Global Education Times (GET News). Pic credit: Yoav Alon.
Israel CHE Acting Director General Michal Neumann. Pic: Yoav Alon

Neumann, who has been working with CHE for 24 years now and was previously responsible for the accreditation of higher education institutions and new study programmes, told Global Education Times that she and CHE has a specific vision for enhancing Israel’s reputation as a study abroad destination.

Amongst the key points in her vision, Neumann pointed to her desire to advance widening access and participation in Israel’s HE sector, whilst also pushing for greater excellence in research and instruction.

Neumann said: “It is of upmost important to ensure the development of the higher education system in its three missions: cutting-edge high-level research, teaching excellence and the third, social, mission.

“In addition, I am committed to gender equity in higher education and ensuring the inclusion of Israel’s diverse populations. I believe that we must work on all of this, while decreasing bureaucracy and empowering the HEIs.”

CHE promoting English language instruction for foreign students

The Council for Higher Education (CHE) has long hoped to increase the number of foreign students in its higher education institutions.

To further accelerate this, and to reach Israel’s target number of foreign students, the CHE has developed plans to integrate more English-language instruction into its institutions’ curriculum.

CHE plans to provide special funds to institutions who will be offering students courses in English.

Additionally, students and staff who may require assistance, will be provided with special training to ensure a smooth transition.

On the practicality of adopting courses in English, Neumann said: “English education is very important to us at the CHE – both in order to attract foreign students, but also to provide Israeli students with the global skills necessary to advance in today’s labour market.

“We have therefore made English a top priority and have provided funding to the higher education institutions to create more English courses and provide support systems to staff and students on the subject.”

‘Study in Israel’ campaign a priority for the Israeli government

Previously, the Israeli government also launched the Study in Israel campaign for the purpose of attracting more foreign students.

Neumann claims CHE is working in close collaboration with Israeli higher education institutions to make Israel an attractive study destination for students all over the world.

Despite the geopolitical turmoil in the Middle East, Neumann told GET News that Israel is a safe country and institutions give top priority to the security of its foreign students.

She talked about various methods they would be using and stated, “We are working on this through many channels, including alumni engagement, prestigious scholarship programs, public relations, digital marketing and the creation of strategic partnerships.

“We are also trying to facilitate academic and research collaborations between our HEIs and leading institutions through the world to further student mobility, joint degree programs, joint research and more.”

Hari Srinivasan - Managing Editor, Global Education Times (GET News)

Hari is the Managing Editor of Global Education Times. Hari has clocked nearly a decade working as a communications professional with a focus on the education sector. He has also had stints in journalism and advertising in a career which has seen him live, study, and work, in three countries.
You can reach him at: hari@globaleducationtimes.org

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