Gan Yavne Academic College was established in 2012 as a joint initiative between Migdal Ohr and the Academic College of Ashkelon. Located just east of Ashdod, this college caters to young men from the Ultra-Orthodox community who want to pursue a university degree but are unable to thrive in a traditional university setting. In some Orthodox communities, the focus is exclusively on religious learning and having a secular academic education is frowned upon. However, there is a growing interest among young men in those communities to obtain a comprehensive education in order to earn a respectable job so that they can better provide for their families. This college has the full endorsement and support of the Council for Higher Education of Israel and provides an equal opportunity for this sector of society to acquire a prestigious academic degree on the way to optimal integration into the employment world.
On campus, the average student is between 25 and 30 years old and is married with 2 or 3 children. The current 100 students are provided with all-encompassing academic, religious, and social surroundings that enable academic studies to a high standard in a suitable environment that also ensures the preservation of Orthodox customs and social norms. Gan Yavne Academic College has also partnered with the Yeadim Company which specializes in the establishment and operation of academic institutions for the Orthodox community. The curriculum is designed to provide students with a comprehensive education while also focusing on degrees that match current market demands including Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Management, Education, Computer Science, and Political Studies. Once they have graduated from Gan Yavne, these young men are fully equipped to achieve maximum success in the workforce.
In the coming years, Migdal Ohr is expected to expand Gan Yavne so that it can accommodate up to 500 students. The college’s location near Ashdod provides optimal access to many Ultra-Orthodox communities in nearby Ashkelon, Rehovot, Beit Shemesh, Netiovot, Sderot, and Ofakim. They are also hoping to add additional Bachelor’s degrees in Social Work and more streams of Economics. Gan Yavne is already starting to bridge the social gap between the secular and orthodox Jewish communities by offering a great education opportunity to those Orthodox young men who are interested in pursuing a degree.