Ono Academic College’s CEO and founder, Ranan Hartman, was recently interviewed by Elliott Gotkine, Bloomberg Television’s former editor. Among other topics, they covered the issue of  demonstrating the importance of higher education to underserved communities in Israel.

Hartman noted that the first thing that must be addressed is the “fear factor” surrounding pursuing higher education, an activity in which many in underserved communities have never participated. 

Ono must close the existing educational gaps.  For instance, many ultra-Orthodox Jews have not received sufficient training in English and Mathematics to succeed in higher education.  Other less obvious gaps include teaching how to speak to someone not from my community, and how to interact with modernity. It is important to assure members of underserved communities that their culture is respected and has a place in academia.  This provides them with the confidence to study and succeed.  Critically, members of the underserved communities need to know, that they will get jobs after they finish their education. They want to ensure that after they finish their studies in accounting, banking, law, occupational therapy, etc. they will find post-educational employment.

Hartman described the situation saying, “It’s not the secular changing for the ultra-Orthodox, and it’s not the ultra-Orthodox changing for secular Israel.  It is everyone understanding and coexisting and at the end of the day you’ll be able to find a job.”

This reality also requires that the learning be different.  These underserved populations study “tachlis” (pragmatic) subjects that the job market needs.