Established in 1939, Kibbutzim College of Education was envisioned as the source of educational leadership for the kibbutz movement. The founders wished to propagate progressive approaches to Judaism, values of social justice, democracy, environmental conservation and interpersonal mutual responsibility. These are the mainstays of a humanitarian and democratic society.
The College's philosophy combines a democratic and progressive approach to education with the principles of a creative artistic experience, multicultural and intellectual worldview. Didactic and pedagogical counseling by faculty members direct students toward critical thinking and prepares them to meet social changes in various educational settings. Today, it is Israel’s largest college of education with a student population of more than 6,000. There are more than 30 undergraduate programs and 9 graduate programs on a diverse range of educational subjects. The College’s unique projects include two teacher leadership programs:
1) Educational, Social, and Environmental Innovation Hub: Employing the Critical-Dialogic Approach, this program trains educators who have demonstrated their ability to innovate within the instruction-learning process. In collaboration with the Institute for Democratic Education, the hub offers an alternative approach to teacher training, inspired by democratic education.
2) Educational Pioneers, which invests in the development of emerging young educators (novice and mid-career) as leaders within the formal education system. These leaders are integrated and tracked for management within schools located in central cities in Israel, which are considered the social periphery.
Programs promoting the social and community involvement of education students are also stressed by the College (e.g. “There Is a Way”).
Additionally, the College is home to the Institute for Progressive Education (UNESCO Chair in Humanistic Education), which combines theory, research and practice, The MAHUT Center (for people with learning disabilities), and its own Research and Evaluation authority.
As part of Kibbutzim College’s efforts at internationalization, it collaborates with other academic institutions in Europe and in Israel on the sixth Tempus project: Life Long Learning in Applied Fields.