Israel offers free online course for local version of SATs


(JTA) — Israel’s government launched a free online training platform that will help prospective students prepare for a key college entrance exam.

The new course, called Campus, is a direct challenge to the country’s  private test prep industry, on which Israelis pay $80 million a year, according to the Ministry for Social Equality, which launched the Campus platform.

Starting January, the website — available in Hebrew, Arabic and English — will offer free preparatory online courses for the Psychometric Entrance Test, or PET, which is the Israeli equivalent of the SAT tests used by U.S. colleges and universities.

Each year, approximately 75,000 people take the PET, with at least half of them paying on average about $2,000 for private preparatory courses.

“The online preparatory course will give equal opportunity to all Israeli citizens, from the Galilee, Negev and center, to contend for a spot in higher education institutions,” the ministry wrote in a statement. The course, it added, was developed with the Education Ministry authority responsible for the PET.

“This is a veritable revolution that will make hi-tech and the sciences more accessible for all citizens,” Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel wrote.

The Campus website also has videos of lectures by some of Israel’s leading scholars on various fields that are intended to help students already enrolled in higher education to study independently.

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