Israeli university’s age restrictions discriminates against Arab students

Tel Aviv University

On 12 March 2007, Adalah wrote to the President of Tel Aviv University and the Dean of the School of Medicine, demanding that new conditions which limit the entry of students into the school to those over twenty years of age be cancelled. As Adalah stressed, this restriction does not apply to students who wish to study before performing military service. This is a new requirement announced in a bulletin regarding registration at the university for the 2007-2008 academic year.

In the letter, Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher argued that this restriction discriminates on the basis of national belonging against Arab students, particularly in light of the fact that the age restriction does not apply to students who wish to study before performing military service, and who are generally under the age of twenty. The age restriction prevents Arab students from registering to the medical school immediately after completing their secondary school education, even those who meet all of the acceptance criteria. Most Arab students do not serve in the army, and therefore the majority of those wishing to pursue higher education enter university immediately after leaving secondary school. The new age restriction, however, will prevent them from doing so at Tel Aviv University’s school of medicine.

In addition, Adalah argued that the claim that imposing an age restriction is aimed at recruiting more mature students is untenable, particularly since the intensive acceptance examination which is currently employed by the medical school (the “Mor” exam) is sufficient for determining the candidates who possess the personal abilities and appropriate professional motivations for studying medicine. The fact that there are Arab students under twenty years of age who have passed the Mor exam testifies that they have the qualifications necessary to enter the school.

In demanding the cancellation of the new age restriction, Adalah drew upon a study conducted by the Research Division of the Knesset and published on 11 June 2006, according to which there is no state in the world which restricts the age at which people can enter institutes of higher education, including for studying medicine.

Adalah demanded that the age restriction be lifted immediately, in order to not to affect the expectations of students who have applied to the school, since the letters of invitation to sit the Mor exam will be sent out in a month, and the letters of notification of acceptance or rejection will be sent out soon after that.

Related Links

  • Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
  • BY TOPIC: Palestinians in Israel