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STEM education crucial for preserving Israel’s Start-up Nation status

Professor Ami Moyal, President of Afeka Academic College of Engineering in Tel Aviv, says that the Israeli educational system needs to implement competency-based education, focusing not only on the subject material that students are taught, but on the development of ‘soft skills’, or ‘vital skills’ as he calls them, such as critical thinking, multi-disciplinary teamwork, effective communication and self-learning.

These skills have been integrated as learning outcomes of the engineering educational process at Afeka, and Moyal states that they are crucial for developing excellent and relevant human capital that will contribute to the success of Israeli hi-tech, which is increasingly important in light of the current situation. “Engineers will play a key role in the country’s growth after the war,” says Moyal. “Our technological advantage and human capital are our most valuable resources and an essential part of our national resilience.”

The world is changing, Israeli education needs to catch up 

Moyal, who will be addressing The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York on June 3, says that Afeka plans to utilize its experience and establish a national center to research, improve, and implement methodologies for competency-based education in conjunction with the "Economic Social Forum” and “Israel Rises.” “The world is changing,” says Moyal, “especially with the advent of AI, which emphasizes the importance of critical and creative thinking.” 

At the conference, Moyal will also discuss the difficulties inherent in managing an academic institution with some 1,400 students – 40% of the student body at Afeka – called to reserve duty during the war, the various support tools implemented, and the special emergency fund launched to assist them.