Israeli pans quality of 'quickie' degrees

September 5, 1997

The quality of degrees offered by British and other overseas universities to Israeli students via distance learning or franchised teaching has again come under fire from an Israeli academic.

David Newman of the Ben Gurion University at Beer Sheva criticised "quickie" degrees saying "students who register are rarely required to complete anything like a full degree programme".

Many overseas universities whichrun courses in Israel "would never allow their own full-time students to get away with this reduced workload," he said.

Writing in the The Jerusalem Post, Professor Newman singled out the Israeli ministry of education for censure, pointing out the ease with which a foreign institute with degree-awarding status coupled with an enterprising representative in Israel could gain accreditation for courses.

Academic staff at Israel's main universities have been voicing concern about overseas institutions taking up the slack in the Israeli market for several years.

However, the concerns are now having real consequences on the ground as the first graduates from such programmes begin to enter the postgraduate and job markets.

"Unlike five or six years ago, we now have to be very careful about Israelis who have first degrees from British universities," said Hebrew University professor. "A certificate is no longer sufficient proof of achievement. We want to know which university the degree is from, what subjects were covered, and what exam marks were obtained."

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