Ethiopian girls at study. Credit: The Heart of Israel.

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Council for Higher Education has approved a $40.4 million plan to encourage academic excellence and leadership among Ethiopian-Israeli students.

The multi-year plan to help the students is part of Israel’s 2015 Government Policy for Advancing the Integration of Israel Citizens of Ethiopian Descent into Israeli Society. It includes broad support starting at the pre-academic stage and continuing on to bachelor’s degree studies, advanced degree studies and the hiring of senior academic staff.

The goal is to increase by some 40 percent the number of Ethiopian-Israeli bachelor’s degree students, from 2,500 to approximately 3,500, within five years.

The primary obstacles preventing the Ethiopian-Israeli students’ integration into the higher education system include the lack of academic information, advisement and guidance; a low percentage of holders of matriculation certificates that meet the threshold set by the universities; and high dropout rates between the first and second year.

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