The stratification of Israeli universities: Implications for higher education policy

Abraham Yogev*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Despite the growing body of literature on the stratification of the university systems in the US and the UK, the treatment of all universities in countries where the system of higher education is publicly controlled tends to remain monolithic. This is certainly true of Israel, where all universities and colleges are regulated by the Council for Higher Education (CHE), which considers all universities the "first layer" of higher education versus the "second layer" of degree-granting colleges. We claim that the six major Israeli universities - the five regular universities and the Technion - are highly stratified into three elite institutions, aiming at academic excellence, versus three "target universities" aimed at specific or peripheral populations. Drawing on periodical university figures published by the Central Bureau of Statistics between 1985-1996, we show that the growth of various academic fields and of graduate studies has been limited in the target universities. Subsequently, their student composition differs from that of the three elite universities. They have larger than expected proportions of older students, women, and minority students (Sephardic Jews and Arabs). Three implications of these stratification patterns for higher education policy in publicly controlled systems are discussed: the extent and stability of university stratification in these systems; the benefits and limitations of this stratification process; and its impact on further developments in higher education, mainly the expansion of degree-granting colleges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-201
Number of pages19
JournalHigher Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000


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