The Board of Public Academic College is a voluntary body whose members are the leaders of Israel's twenty-one academic public colleges. These institutions serve 68,000 students, who constitute approximately 40% of all Bachelor's degree students in Israel's higher education system. The Committee promotes the colleges' shared policy on various issues, including the following: planning and budgeting, academic matters, future development, legislation, participation in Knesset committee discussions, and more.
The chairperson of the Committee is Professor Yona Chen, president of Tel-Hai College, and the general director of the Committee is Mr. Yossi Malka, managing director of Tel-Hai College. Chairperson of the general assembly is Aharon Yadlin, who served as Minister of Education in Yitzchak Rabin's first government and was granted the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement and special contribution to society and the State of Israel through his wide-ranging work in education.
Israel's public colleges offer a diverse array of study fields, ranging from art and design, music and dance, to technology and engineering, communications, nutrition, law, management, nursing, and much more. Their widespread geographical proliferation enables many Israelis to pursue higher education near their place of residence. The founding of the academic colleges, for the most part in Israel's social and geographic periphery, significantly raised accessibility to higher education among young adults, and provided a place for many talented students. The spirit of social responsibility has led to the colleges' involvement in a host of activities and initiatives aimed at strengthening the towns and communities in which they are situated.
In recent years the colleges have also made their mark in academic research in a large range of themes, some of them in collaboration with industry, the military, as well as with universities in Israel and abroad. In a number of colleges research institutes have been established. Colleges have invested millions out of their own budgets over the past decade in order to further research activity and encourage their faculty members to progress in their research work, despite the lack of earmarked funding for this on the part of Israel's Council for Higher Education Planning and Budgeting Committee.
The senior management level of Israel's public academic colleges is committed to promoting creativity, excellence, and innovation among their academic faculties and researchers, and encourages them to publicize their work and its contribution to science. Active laboratories, research institutes, and research equipment constitute a current reality in a large variety of colleges, and the knowledge amassed in them is being applied in leading Israeli firms and publicized in foremost Israeli and international journals and conferences.