Shekels saved on loo roll

April 11, 2003

Behind the glitter of Tel Aviv University's new buildings lies an annual deficit of 209 million shekels (£ million) and an expected deficit in next year's budget of about 250 million shekels.

Students demonstrated at the university last summer in protest against locked libraries and lecture rooms, part of the administration's efforts to recover from the institution's overwhelming deficit.

A reduced budget this year of 1.42 billion shekels, 62 million shekels less than the previous year, prompted university administrators to draw up an emergency plan, including administrative job cuts, a reduction in faculty budgets, restrictions on hiring graduate students and a freeze on replacing retired professors.

However, the university's deficit has grown from year to year by about 20 per cent, according to a story in the newspaper Ha'aretz.

Noam Segal, spokesman for junior faculty, said: "The university is saving on cleaning services in the buildings, toilet paper in the lavatories and the operating hours of the exact sciences laboratories."

About 75 per cent of the university's budget comes from state funding through the Council for Higher Education's Planning and Budgeting Committee and from students' tuition fees.

In the current budgeting year, funding from the PBC was reduced by 30 million shekels on the previous year's figure to about 747 million shekels, some 55 per cent of the total university budget.

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