27 January 2010 Government ministers visit ORT school in Kishinev Moldovas Education Minister, Leonid Bujor, and the Minister of Pre-University Education, Valentin Crudu, have become the highest-ranking dignitaries to visit the ORT Herzl Technology Lyceum in Kishinev. The ministers visited several classes and paid particular attention to the superb facilities at the ORT Moldova Technology Centre, where there is one computer for every three students compared with a national average of more than 22 students per computer. And they discussed education issues with teaching staff and senior students in the school auditorium. I really liked what I saw, said Mr Bujor. Most importantly, the kids are interested in learning and the school provides everything they need to do just that. And it is all possible thanks to the support of ORT Moldova and its President, Ilan Shor. ORT Moldova President Ilan Shor (centre) with the republics Education Minister, Leonid Bujor, and Svetlana Klimina, the Principal of ORT Herzl Technology Lyceum. Mr Shor and David Benish, World ORT Representative to the Countries of the Former Soviet Union, invited the Minister to the school earlier this month and it is testament to the warm relations between the government and ORT Moldova that he made time to take up the offer so quickly. The Ministers visit is official recognition of the ORT Lyceum as one of Moldovas leading educational institutions, said ORT Moldova National Director Vitaly Kirillov. Indeed, the Technology Centre is the most modern in the country, Mr Kirillov went on. All the computers are linked together in a local network and we have introduced a virtual classroom magazine with a database going back five years. Students parents can easily connect to the network via the Internet and become acquainted with what their children are learning and their results. Despite our pronounced technological profile, the high school pays great attention to the study of languages. And the Director of the Lyceum, Svetlana Klimina, added: These facilities are used not only for computer lessons, but as a way of incorporating the latest technology in the teaching of subjects such as history, biology and mathematics. Lessons become more interesting and the children learn more. The schools achievements are all the more remarkable given the challenges it has been facing. Its Jewish character, which was threatened by the Jewish Agency for Israels withdrawal from the Heftsiba school funding system, has been preserved thanks to the personal generosity of Mr Shor. But generally, the situation in Moldova is difficult. Already one of the poorest countries in Europe, the global financial crisis has reversed the economic growth enjoyed in recent years with GDP falling by nine per cent and unemployment doubling. Last weeks ministerial visit comes four months after a very positive meeting between the then President of Moldova, Vladimir Voronin, and Mr Benish together with World ORT Director General and CEO Robert Singer. Such warm, high level contacts are a far cry from the situation 70 years ago when the Soviet Union expelled ORT from Moldova. The hatchet was buried in 2003 when the Moldovan Government passed a resolution renaming the high school in Kishinev the ORT Herzl Technology Lyceum. Since then, ORT Moldova has led the way in applying information technologies in education, said Mr Shor. We support many initiatives including a number of training programmes in conjunction with the Moldovan Ministry of Education, he said. I believe that ORT should be involved in many social programmes of the state – in precisely those areas in which our expertise can contribute to finding the best forms and methods of teaching not only high school pupils but also mature students of all religions and ethnicities. One such programme is the provision of training in the use of IT in education management for the heads of the regional educational departments. Others include vocational training for vulnerable women (a joint project with World Jewish Relief), and a research and analysis project to identify the most sought after skills in Moldova so that appropriate training can be made available.