Education in Israel plays a major part in the life and culture of the country. Israel has a comprehensive education system with an emphasis on progressive educational trends.
The education system consists of three tiers: primary education (grades 1-6), middle school (grades 7-9) and high school (grades 10-12). Compulsory education is from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Secondary education prepares students for the Israeli matriculation exams (bagrut), which cover various academic disciplines and grant students a matriculation certificate.
After secondary education, students are generally conscripted into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and after a 2-3 year service, turn to higher education. All of Israel's eight universities, and some colleges, are subsidized by the state, and students pay only a small part of the actual cost as tuition.
The higher education system comprises universities; non-university institutions of higher education that provide instruction at the bachelors degree level only; regional colleges that offer academic courses under the auspices and academic responsibility of the universities; and non-academic post secondary schools. All of these institutions are characterized by complete freedom in academic affairs.
All the universities in Israel (except for the Open University and the Weizmann Institute) grant bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees.
Universities in Israel, as around the world, have a dual purpose: research and teaching. Most basic research in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities is carried out at the country's universities, which maintain a high level of research in a wide variety of fields, while reaching excellence in select areas.