Israel's Council for Higher Education will decide next week whether to grant a licence to Inter College, Derby University's franchise partner in Israel.
Avi Bitan, general manager of Inter College in Ramat Efal near Tel Aviv, believes that it will become a test case as the first large extension to apply for a licence.
All foreign extensions are
required to have a licence from the council to grant degrees. Some 45 franchisees have licence renewals pending, and the council is
considering their status to
ensure they meet its requirements.
Behind the tighter controls is the wish of the Israeli treasury to reduce the salary rises to which government workers are entitled once they earn an academic degree from an overseas institution. The government wants to cut the budgets of the health and education ministries and the police in the next fiscal year by stopping employees obtaining degrees from the foreign extensions.
"Until November 1998, we
only recruited students up to the age of 28 with the Bagrut (matriculation) and over the age of 28, with a partial Bagrut (at least ten credits), according to what was decided by the council," Mr Bitan said. "In April 1999, the council started to say this was not according to its criteria - and that all those under 30 years of age had to have a full Bagrut.
"Whatever we are doing in Israel is approved by the University of Derby in Britain. We are under close supervision by the university and by the CHE. We have completed the changes as requested, ensuring textbooks and examinations are identical to the mother university by October 15." Some students had to increase their study hours, Mr Bitan said.
Inter College was formed out of two companies, Campus Studies and Afik College, and opened to students in February 1997.