A Mechina (Hebrew: מכינה; "preparatory", plural מכינות Mechinot) is an Israeli educational program that prepares high school graduates for serving in the Israeli Army or study at an institution of higher learning in Israel. Most mechina programs last one academic year. It is also the official name of a few ultra orthodox yeshiva high schools in the US.

Pre-army Mechinot

There are three types of pre-army Mechinot:

Religious pre-army Mechina

A religious Mechina is intended for graduates of a Yeshiva high school or a religious high school, and prepares them for their service in the Israel Defense Forces. Focus is placed on preparing them for the encounter with secular society in the army by studying Jewish thought, beliefs and outlooks. Students also prepare physically for their service period and receive leadership training from active-duty officers.

The first religious Mechina, Bnei David,[1] was founded in 1988 in Eli, a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

Other religious Mechinot:

Secular pre-army Mechina

A secular Mechina focuses on preparing high school graduates for citizenship as well as IDF service. The program of studies covers leadership, principles and practice of democracy, volunteer service to the community, ideological and individual identity, Zionism, Jewish history and heritage, philosophy, and more. While "secular" in matters of religious observance, the program of study includes Judaism with a focus on ethics and tradition.

The first secular Mechina was Nahshon, founded in 1997 in Nili [12] in the West Bank.

Other secular Mechinot:

Joint religious and secular pre-army Mechina

The joint religious and secular Mechinot were founded to help bridge the widening gaps in Israeli society. As such, they focus on teaching a range of subjects to a mixed student body, including Zionism, leadership, Judaism, political science, philosophy, alongside intensive community and societal involvement and volunteering.

Joint religious and secular Mechinot:

College preparatory programs

Several frameworks operate in Israel to prepare for entrance to institutions of higher (post-secondary) education, those students who otherwise lack the necessary academic qualifications. These are geared for various populations.

Academic Mechinot

These are operated by Israeli universities, for students with an Israeli high school education.

Mechinat Olim

A Mechinat Olim (Hebrew: מכינת עולים; immigrants' preparatory) is designed specifically for prospective, new, or recent immigrants intending to study in an Israeli institution of higher education. The programs are generally conducted for one year, and all courses are taught in Hebrew. The program has two basic goals:

Mechinot Olim offer different content-based tracks of study (i.e. Life Science, Humanities, Social Sciences, or Physical Science). The Technion will only accept students from its own Mechina.

Remedial courses preparatory to higher education

In addition to the above, there are private (i.e. commercial) educational institutions in Israel offering remedial courses for students after high school who wish to complete or upgrade their scores in their subject matriculations or prepare for the psychometric examinations required for entrance to college or university.

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