Israeli Academe’s Social Role in the Post–Modern Era: A Case Study of the Open University’s "Russia Project"

Nitza Davidovitch, Elazar Leshem

Abstract


The academe and its missions have experienced a series of changes and revolutions over the centuries of its existence. Social, economic, political, and technological changes have left their mark on the academe’s distinct missions: professional training, promotion of national goals, research, teaching, moral education, and community service. Different missions at different periods of time reflect the dynamics and changing interactions of the academe and its environment. In Israel, despite its young age, the declared missions of the academe have been an object of change: from higher education for its own sake to professional training; from higher education viewed as a goal, to higher education viewed as a means; from education for the sake of education, exploration, and discovery, to technological studies and applied science; from an appreciation of excellence, to equality for all. Despite these changes, community service is one mission that has consistently been an integral part of the landscape of higher education. The instrumental role of higher education in Israel in the progress of Israeli society is planted deep in the history of the Zionist vision. Although it seems that this mission is sometimes forgotten by the Israeli academe, it continues to beat in the heart of the academe, not as a separate strand but rather an integral part of academic activities. In this paper, we present Israel Open University’s Russia Project as an exemplar of academic activities in and for the community. The Russia Project is an educational setting that allows any individual entitled under the Law of Return to study in an Open University program at no charge.

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Asian Social Science   ISSN 1911-2017 (Print)   ISSN 1911-2025 (Online)

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