An academic lizrael update.

*Yawn*. *Stretch*. It’s a sunny winter Sunday. Today is as good as any to update about the awful university situation in Israel right now.

Basically, I have no idea what is going to happen for the rest of the year because the department heads, university presidents, strikers and government don’t know. Somewhere in this giant, ridiculous, embarrassing strike the idea of education got forgotten.

We, the students, cannot plan our summers, even if some of us (me) have overdue degrees to complete, weddings to attend abroad, family to visit and life to go on.

They are talking about considering next semester (bet) as a semester aleph and the summer as a semester bet to complement it, since there are full-year classes that haven’t started yet (like mine). Then again, my department can’t plan the next steps – including courses and schedules for these semesters – because the professors on strike can’t talk about it or plan. So I can’t start finding a way to somehow finish up before the summer, using only next semester.

Well, there’s the state of academia in the State of Israel… for now.  Unfortunately, this battle isn’t over yet.

Now they're taking *our* semester breaks?

A little ironic after my last post, but:

Universities set to cancel vacations to make up strike time

There are so many three, four and six-letter words running through my head right now (bilingually), I can’t really write anything else.

University officials say that students will probably have to give up their semester break, and maybe also part of their summer vacation, to make up the time lost during the ongoing senior faculty strike.

The strike, now in its fifth week, has already eaten up much of the 14-week semester. As Haaretz reported last week , the Finance Ministry announced that it is transferring responsibility for negotiations with the strikers to the university presidents. Since then talks have been at a standstill, and no meeting has been scheduled.

University heads previously warned that a prolonged strike might cost students the semester, maybe even the entire year. Students are further worried by a message from the striking professors informing them that they will not be allowed any dispensation because of the strike. (Haaretz)

Today's Word: Senior/בכיר.

In the past week I have read articles and received emails concerning the strike-affected academic schedule and peppered among all of them is the word בכיר (bachir), meaning ‘senior’, as in ‘senior professor’.

Only senior professors are striking, because they are the ones being affected by the paycheck problems. Other professors get paid according to a different system and so they are beginning the academic year this week.

The strike of the senior professors began yesterday and is well into its second day. I begin class today; I’d say ‘classes’ but one of them is canceled while the other is not.

That’s because, well, you guessed it: one of my professors is בכיר while the other is just plain… teaching.