Estonian school is last piece in World ORTs FSU mosaic


27 June 2008 Estonian school is last piece in World ORTs FSU mosaic Estonias only Jewish school has formally affiliated with World ORT. The Tallinn Jewish Schools signing of the memorandum of partnership means that every non-religious Jewish school in the Former Soviet Union is now part of the World ORT network. World ORTs Representative in Russia, Belarus and Central Asia, Avi Ganon (pictured, left), signed the document with the schools principal, Mikhail Beilinson (pictured, right), and the citys Director of Education Services, Meelis Kond (pictured, centre), last week. The success of our schools in other parts of the Former Soviet Union persuaded Mr Beilinson that his 200 students would benefit by his school joining the network, Mr Ganon said. Naturally, we agree. And we are very happy to welcome the school into the World ORT family. World ORT schools across the FSU are reporting increases in student enrolments this year as their high standards become better known. Recently, for example, ORT Moscow Technology School won a $1 million grant from the local education authority which is financing renovations and its students have performed well in linguistic and computer design competitions; the Moscow ORT Technology College won a highly competitive tender to provide innovative vocational training programmes; and teachers at various World ORT schools in Russia have won prestigious education awards year after year. Three-quarters of Estonias Jewish community live in the capital, Tallinn, comprising a tightly-knit population of 3,000. The Chairman of the Jewish Community of Tallinn, Alla Jacobson, is one of the countrys most respected lawyers, Mr Ganon said. She knows a lot about World ORT and is happy to organise an ORT Estonia committee. Mrs Jacobson will be very effective in developing joint projects between World ORT and the local Jewish community. The citys education chief, Mr Kond, was also happy to welcome World ORT, Mr Ganon said, opening up the prospect of projects to help the wider community. We will hold more talks with the Ministry of Education to see how we can help, Mr Ganon said. We may, for example, extend teacher training programmes to non-Jewish schools part of World ORTs tried and tested formula of sharing the benefits we bring to Jewish communities with non-Jewish neighbours. The Tallinn Jewish School can trace its roots back to 1919. After the war, the school building was nationalised and it was not until the collapse of the Soviet Union that the school was re-established with the help of the Israeli Government. Teachers at the Tallinn Jewish School will now be able to participate in World ORT training programmes and international seminars as well as have access to information sharing facilities on the Internet. Students will be integrated into World ORT activities in the countries of the Former Soviet Union, including videoconferencing, summer schools, on-line competitions and telecommunication projects. World ORT will also aim to help the school with social support such as transport, lunches and salaries. It is a good school but there is room to raise its technological level, Mr Ganon said. The ICT equipment is dated and we should be able to remedy this and raise the level of technology education as we have done in other schools. World ORT Director General Robert Singer said he was extremely happy that the Tallinn Jewish School has joined the World ORT network. This is another sign of World ORTs success in this region and of the success of our system in general, Mr Singer said. Most of the credit goes to the outstanding World ORT professionals who do a brilliant job.