ICE | The Israel Chemist and Chemical Engineer | Issue 8

32 The Israel Chemist and Chemical Engineer Issue 8 · November 2021 · Kislev 5782 Report population, immigration, and urbanization. The committee recommended establishing a distance-education system based on the Open University of England model. In 1974 the OUI was founded on a temporary campus in Ramat Aviv. Thirty years later, it moved to the Dorothy de Rothschild Campus in Ra’anana, designed by the architect Ada CarmiMelamed (Figure 1). Figure 1. A general view of the Dorothy de Rothschild Campus of the OUI in Ra’anana. The unique features of the OUI include open admission regardless of prior academic qualification and without any entrance examination. It offers distance-learning programs that utilize advanced e-learning technologies and face-to-face tutorials conducted in sixty study centers throughout Israel. The senior faculty members carry out intensive research programs in collaboration with scientists at the research universities. These activities are a crucial factor in their recruitment and promotion. In 1976, the OUI offered five courses to its 2267 enrolled students, and the first graduation ceremony was held in 1982 with 41 graduates. Two decades later, nearly 20,000 students registered to over 300 academic courses in the humanities, social sciences, natural and life sciences, mathematics, and computer science, and 350 graduates received their BA degrees. Today, the university has more students than any other academic institution in Israel. Nearly 50,000 students enroll annually, taking more than 700 courses towards undergraduate degrees, postgraduate degrees, diplomas, and certificates. In terms of student numbers, the OUI is the largest university in Israel. The diverse student body represents a cross-section of I s r ae l i soc i e t y, i nc lud i ng individuals who work full time and support fami lies, people from the geographic and socioeconomic periphery. It includes gifted high school students, professionals seeking advanced degrees, ultra-Orthodox men and women, Israeli Arabs, students with disabi l ities, soldiers on active duty in the IDF, students with special needs, prisoners, and people outside Israel. Since 2013, the Ministry of Education launched the High School Academy Program, enabl ing high school pupils to take higher education courses at the OUI. Over the years , the Open University has launched about 60 study centers throughout the country. The Integration of Distance Learning Technologies Center at Shoham develops and assimilates pedagogical solutions in academic courses using advanced technologies. The OUI has recently launched three research institutes: the Institute for the Study of Innovation in Learning Technologies, the Institute for Policy Analysis, and the Institute for the Study of Relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims. In addition, it established several research centers, including the Open Media and Information Laboratory, the Astrophysics Research Center, and the High-Performance Computing Center. Opening Ceremony The event started with a one-hour welcoming reception and a light buffet dinner in the foyer of the Chais Auditorium. All prize winners were accompanied by family members, colleagues, and coworkers (Figure 2). Prof. Ehud Keinan, President of the ICS, welcomed the audience (Figure 3): “Good evening, everybody, and thanks