Esor Ben-Sorek

Wonderful news: Israel is in third place

The title of this article may seem deceiving. After all, third place is still only third place.

However in the just released spectator index issued by the World Economic Forum, a list of 134 countries is ranked for University Graduate Skills.

I did not understand what the index was nor what it meant but upon further investigation I learned that countries are ranked by the skills which their university graduates have in successfully finding good jobs.

Of the 134 countries, Switzerland with 12 universities ranked first, followed by the United States with 5,300 colleges and universities ranked second. And to my happy and surprising look at the complete list of the 134 different countries, Israel with only 7 universities earned the third highest ranking.

Compare that to Russia with 24 universities which ranked # 88,  England with 130 universities ranked # 24  and China, with 2,914 universities ranked only # 57.

Our neighbors, Qatar # 15,  Saudi Arabia #44,  Turkey #93,  Morocco #109 and Egypt #133  out of 134.

I had no idea of the prestige which we held in the World Economic Forum’s index. Our third place is a badge of honor compared to much larger countries with an abundance of institutions of higher education.

The index indicates which countries have been most successful in training university students in the various skills needed for them to find superior employment.

Switzerland came out as #1, the highest, and Nigeria came out as #134, the lowest on the index.

Of the English-speaking nations Ireland ranked #6,  New Zealand #17,  Canada #18,  Australia #19 and South Africa #80.

These index figures mean very little to the average citizens of the world but their numbers certainly demonstrate the success and the pride of the higher education provided in  leading universities and four-year colleges in the respective countries.

For Israel it is a badge of high achievement in a country with only seven universities. Therefore, I   react less to the names of the 134 countries listed but rather to their numbers in the ranks.

Being # 3 in an Israeli political party is a worthy number and the happy candidate who wins the venerated spot has good reason to rejoice.

But Israel’s third place in the prestigious World Economic Forum is indeed worthy of our national pride.

We have made great strides and immense progress in the fields of science and medicine in particular. Our graduates are invited to conferences across the world and their advice is sought by countries which form the United Nations as well as the European Union.

Higher education in Israeli universities and Medical schools bring national honor to our country and respect of the many other nations in the world.

We are reaching, through the efforts of Prime Minister Netanyahu, to warming relations with Arab nations and the Gulf States. Their monarchs and leaders have welcomed the Prime Minister’s visits to their countries and while formal peace with diplomatic relations is not yet on the scene, there is a feeling that it will not be much longer before we and they can break bread together.

The recent results of the spectator index of the World Economic Forum should be a source of pride for us.

Ranking #3 out of #134 is not bad   Not bad at all.

Hats off to Israel’s academic achievements.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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