Trends in the Internationalization of Israeli Schools
Author: Miri Yemini Policy Research

In recent decades the educational system in the State of Israel has shown signs of substantive change.

The decentralization and privatization trends in Israel, as in other countries, have created a heterogeneous and dynamic system, characterized by a variety of forces taking action to change and influence the entire system and its components, from both inside and outside. Globalization, with its economic, political and social aspects, is also fomenting changes in the educational system, and these are evident throughout its length and breadth, at all levels.

Concurrently, the internationalization process in the educational system is gathering momentum and drawing increasing attention, in both research and the field of policy. This trend stems from the connection between the international dimension of education and the educational system’s need to prepare in order to equip its graduates with the skills and abilities required in the twenty-first century. The internationalization process’s centrality to education stems from the desire to train those who study to assume an active citizenship role in a global world. Economic, political, social-cultural and academic considerations encourage governments and institutions in the developed world, as also in developing countries, to take action to promote global processes, international and intercultural, of either national or institutional scope. Nonetheless, as an essentially ethnocentric country, Israel must contend with certain challenges in the internationalization process, the essential goals of which have an international dimension. It is therefore of particular interest to examine the development of the process in the educational system in Israel.

This policy paper describes recent developments in the area of internationalization in the entire educational system, especially in the schools and in the higher education system. It presents a historical survey of the essential developments and major processes in the field, such as the Bologna process and the international matriculation program, going on to discuss the causes of these developments. It also describes the effect of these processes on the educational system in Israel and surveys developments in the field in Israel. Lastly, it presents future directions for development and the dilemmas that implementation of the internationalization process entails. It does all this in order to provide researchers, policymakers and the public in the State of Israel with updated information on the international aspect of the educational system, with the aim of promoting a sensible and advanced discussion of that aspect in the Israeli public sphere.

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