24 July 2008 Biggest ever World ORT English summer school A group of 40 students from Israel, France and Italy have been welcomed at ORT House for the World ORT London English and Science Summer School. It is the first of two groups of teenagers to spend 11 days in London to improve their English language skills within a new format for the World ORT summer school, which has been running for four years. Not only is the number of students benefiting from the summer school greater, they are also staying together at a purpose-built children’s residential camp just outside London rather than in a hotel. The facilities at the Lincolnsfields Children’s Centre lend themselves to the creation of greater group cohesion, an easier environment in which to do course work and a safe place to engage in a wide variety of fun extra-curricular activities,’ said World ORTs Head of Jewish Education, Judah Harstein. The result will be an enhanced educational experience in every sense. As in previous years, the students will spend each morning engaged in an intensive, practical English language course designed to give them the opportunity to use what they learn in daily conversations and not just explore it as an academic subject. The importance of English language skills in todays labour market cant be emphasised enough, said Mr Harstein. Accordingly, in preparing our students for their future careers, World ORT schools aim to provide a high level of English language instruction along with their science, technology, Jewish and general curricula. Maor Turjeman is one participant in the summer school who readily acknowledges the importance of having a good grasp of English. A student at the Western Galilee High School in Nahariya, which is one of more than 30 campuses benefiting from World ORTs Kadima Mada (Science Journey) programme, Maor wants to be a politician. I am chairman of the students organisation at my school, he said. We have convinced the school to build a cafeteria and have asked students what they want on the menu. Having cooked lunches is important because we often have to stay late at school to make up for the classes we missed during the teachers strike last year. It feels good that Im helping people and thats why I want to be a Labour member of the Knesset. I know that good English would be a great help to get Israels message across to an international audience. Like most of the students, this is Maors first time in England and so the daily trips to sites of interest including tours of historic Oxford, the Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament, the Science Museum, the IMAX theatre to see a stunning 3-D film depicting sea life in the Late Cretaceous period (pictured), the Royal Observatory and Maritime Museum at Greenwich, and Bevis Marks Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in the United Kingdom are a privileged, first-hand glimpse at British culture. Should Maor make it to the Knesset he said he would place education at the top of his list of political priorities. After security, education is the most important thing its the future of the country, he said. Teachers need to be paid more and the system as a whole has not developed enough in recent years. The help that World ORT has brought to my school and to schools in other towns is very necessary. I think World ORT is an organisation with great ideals. Welcoming the students to ORT House, World ORT Director General Robert Singer said there was more to the summer school than improving English language skills. We want to create leaders, Mr Singer told the teenagers. You have signed a document confirming that you will tutor fellow students over the next two years. Here you will have the opportunity to develop your leadership abilities so that you can be leaders at your schools. Through the World ORT London English and Science Summer School the students also learn about their place in the international ORT family, a feeling of kinship that was enhanced by an introduction to World ORTs history and mission presented at the welcoming ceremony by the Head of World ORTs Regional Operations Desk, Bob Golbert. When Bob gave his presentation I felt part of the ORT family I felt close to World ORT and connected to other Jewish people around the world, said Nicole Dagan, a student at ORT Renzo Levi in Rome. Like this group, the next group of 40 high schools students will be predominantly made up of Israelis but instead of students from France and Italy will have teenagers from the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Russia and Ukraine.