Special Interview a Major Concern for Technion

Prof. Josef Singer, president of the Technion, Israel’s famed institute of technology and science in Haifa, warned that the severe cutbacks to the university’s operating budget and the growing deficit imposed by Israel’s continuing economic crisis might have a long-term effect on the country’s economy and its effort to reach economic independence.

Singer, in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, said that Israel’s economic future is dependent on the development of high-tech industries as a source for export and improving the country’s balance of payment.

Noting that Technion trains 70 percent of all of Israel’s scientists and engineers, and is therefore, the key to the State’s economic and defense needs, Singer said the financial cutbacks represent two unacceptable options: reducing the number of engineers and scientists who graduate from the Technion, or lowering the standard of excellence in teaching and research for which the Technion is known the world over.

HIGH-TECH INDUSTRIES REQUIREMENTS

Singer said that Technion graduates every year about 1,000-1,500 new engineers and scientists. But Israel’s needs to develop high-tech industries, he noted, require at least 5,000 additional new engineers in the next decade.

“The question before the Technion is what kind of Technion are we going to have,” Singer said. “Will it be a Technion that keeps its standard of excellence or not? Will it be a Technion that cuts the number of students and teachers, but then won’t be able to meet the national needs of economic growth and development?”

Singer pointed out that the training of a student at the Technion is much more expensive than the training of a student in any other university. He said that Technion needs millions of dollars to invest now “in order to have very good new engineers in six or seven years from now.”

Singer said that the operating budget of the Technion for 1985/86 is $64 million. “We need, however, an additional $7 million to solve our operating needs for the year,” he said. He added that Technion has an accumulated budget deficit of $12 million in addition to the extra $7 million gap in this year’s budget.

“The Technion is one of the best technological institutes in the world, and we want to keep it this way,” Singer said.

Singer was in the U.S. to underscore to the American Society for Technion the need to raise more funds for Technion. The American Society for Technion raised approximately $18 million last year.

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