The Global Age of Ashkelon Academic College
A decade after the Ashkelon Academic College was declared an independent college, its managers mark another goal: to transform the college into a leading institution of international academic cooperation. After several months of preparation, the program has begun its first steps, and in November 2018, delegations from the Netherlands and Austria visited the college. A month later, the European Union ambassador to Israel honored the college with his presence. In the next two years joint activities and delegations from abroad and abroad are already planned.
“The Ashkelon Academic College is dedicated to narrowing the social gaps between the periphery and the center,” explains Yael Ram, director of the college’s international relations office. “However, there are still significant gaps in opportunities in the labor market between students at the center and students from the periphery, where students in the periphery have far fewer opportunities to integrate into companies and positions related to the global economy. “
In other words, if a bachelor’s degree was once a key entry point into the labor market, today there’s a broader range of skills and abilities required, including not only a bachelor’s degree but also the ability to successfully work with colleagues, suppliers and customers from around the world. The Ashkelon Academic College has taken upon itself to prepare its students for the global age, and to provide them with the skills, abilities and opportunities that will provide them with a head start to employment world. “We do not want our students to leave Ashkelon,” says Dr. Ram. “On the contrary, our dream is that they will bring the international world to Ashkelon, and will serve as a lever for the development of the entire region”
The College’s international program, approved last August by the Council for Higher Education, is composed of three components. First, the college has decided to upgrade and adapt its infrastructure to the international era. As part of the infrastructure upgrading activities, all the guiding signs at the college were added in English as well and the website was upgraded, but the main effort is invested in improving the English skills of the college’s senior and dedicated administrative staff. The college could have chosen to recruit personnel dedicated to this specific field, but chose to invest in the training of the existing staff
Dr. Ram explained the choice: “If we want to leverage the college and the periphery, the wisdom is to give tools to those who live and work here, so we invest everything necessary to turn our administrative staff into an international team that can host representatives from abroad and represent the college at study fairs abroad “.
The second component of the international program includes the providing of tools -both academic and professional- to the students. The college is interested in exposing the students to key concepts in English, and therefore opened a course to convert existing courses into English. Later, at least one English class will be integrated into each course in the third year, so that in the last academic year, each student will be exposed to English content and concepts in each of the courses he studies at the college.