The development of two-year technological colleges in israel and its implications for stratification in higher education

Oren Pizmony-Levy, Idit Livneh, Rinat Arviv-Elysahiv, Abraham Yogev

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Similar to community colleges in the United States, the Israeli tertiary system includes two-year technological colleges, which provide students with a labor-market relevant qualification. Nonetheless, unlike the community colleges, the technological colleges are not considered to be part of the higher education system and their transfer function is irregular and confined. In order to understand these differences, the chapter has two complementary objectives: (a) to describe the emergence and development of technological colleges and (b) to evaluate the implications for social inequality in access to higher education in Israel. We use a mixedmethods research design, including analyzing primary and secondary sources describing the official policy and public discourse around these colleges (qualitative/historical research) and comparing students attending academic institutions to students attending technological colleges and students across different fields of study offered by these colleges (quantitative research). Drawing on Phillip's (2004) model for policy attraction in education, we find that technological colleges in Israel were based on the Dutch HTS model, while the founding of these colleges was initiated by local impulse. The implementation of the technological colleges in the Israeli context was shaped by a cultural logic for higher education that emphasizes research and knowledge production, creating a binary tertiary system. Drawing on sociological literature on diversification and stratification in tertiary education, we find that technological colleges attract more students from disadvantaged groups and more students with relatively low academic ability than academic institutions. In addition, within technological colleges, students from advantaged background and higher academic ability are more likely to study in more prestigious fields of study. These findings suggest that if policy makers in Israel aspire to increase access to higher education, they should rethink policy instruments and cultivate the transfer function of technological colleges. This is among the first studies to examine technological colleges in Israel and we conclude with different directions for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunity Colleges Worldwide
Subtitle of host publicationInvestigating the Global Phenomenon
EditorsAlexander Wiseman, Thomas Janis, Audree Chase-Mayoral
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic) 978-1-78190-231-8
ISBN (Print)9781781902301
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NameInternational Perspectives on Education and Society
ISSN (Print)1479-3679


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