The social and academic context of the Open University in Israeli adult education

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This paper examines the social and academic functions of the Open University of Israel (OUI) in Israeli adult education. Its very creation reflects the idea of lifelong education, advocating continuing education throughout adult life. OUI operates an array of programmes for adults in the academic track and in continuing education frameworks. In the academic track, OUI offers special programmes for educationally disadvantaged adults who lack minimum entry requirements to higher education institutions, and as such provides a real social mobility alternative for talented adults of socially disadvantaged backgrounds to catch up with the mainstream. In the continuing education framework, OUI offers a variety of programmes, ranging from elementary level courses to advanced diploma studies for adults who already possess an academic degree. This paper analyses the underlying philosophy of the various programmes, and discusses their potential contribution to raising the academic, professional and cultural levels of the Israeli adult population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Lifelong Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1992

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
OUI also designed a special literacy programme for adults, which was called 'Tehila' (a Hebrew acronym for 'Special Education Program for the Adult Student'). The Tehila project was financed by and designed in co-operation with the Department of Adult Education of the Ministry of Education. Tehila was designed to help adults bring their education up to eighth-grade level. OUI started offering its first courses in this project in the autumn of 1980. Tehila students were required to take proficiency courses in mathematics and the Hebrew language, and also to choose six electives from such areas as Jewish history, Bible, geography, sociology, economics, literature, art, child psychology, technology, introduction to science, the meaning of democracy, etc. More than 100 courses were developed in this framework. Currently, the developmental phase of this project has stopped, but the courses already developed are used all over the country in study groups which are organized by the Department of Adult Education.

RAMBI publications

  • Open University of Israel
  • Education, Higher -- Israel


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