Interdisciplinary ‘revolution’ at ORT Israel schools


27 October 2005 ORT Israel schools lead a revolution in thinking The interdisciplinary studies spearheaded by ORT high schools in Israel have been praised by the countrys Ministry of Education. The courses, which are operating in 13 ORT high schools so far, unconventionally teach pupils using analogies from one field to another. In regular science studies, chemistry, physics and biology would be taught individually; students would not be learning to find the connections between them as they do in, say, robotics or biomedical engineering. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Ministry officials describe the approach as a revolution in thinking, a truly interdisciplinary way of teaching. The article, which can be read on-line at, quotes the Education Ministrys Gershon Cohen as saying that ORT Alon high school in Yokneam, for example, places more emphasis on interdisciplinary studies than many institutes of higher learning. Mr Cohen stressed the importance of such education saying: The world has become interdisciplinary. Once upon a time, a person had a profession that he practiced all his life. Today he has to know his way around several fields at once. ORT Israels interdisciplinary studies are in a class of their own Picture: Itzik Ben Malki/Haaretz In the Haaretz article, Shai Fishbein, a science and technology teacher at ORT Alon, describes how one group of students built a prototype of a machines that prints a picture on a wall while another developed a smart medicine box that reminds the patient when to take medication as well as which pills to take. What makes it possible for them to invent these projects is the wide basis of information we give them. They learn terms from physics, biology, chemistry, electronics and computers, Mr Fishbein told the newspaper. The Director of ORTs Israel Goralnik Institute for the Advancement of Scholastic Achievement, Dr Meir Sershtman, developed the interdisciplinary study concept seven years ago. The Institute a section within the ORT Moshinsky Pedagogical Centre in Tel Aviv aims to increase the number of ORT students eligible for taking the high level matriculation certificate. Among its responsibilities the Institute initiates, develops and implements a broad range of in-service courses, teaching programmes and learning circles on pedagogical issues and teaching management. It also promotes the education of technology and science at ORT schools and throughout Israels education system. World ORT, founded in 1880, is the worlds largest Jewish education and vocational training non-government organisation with some 270,000 students in 58 countries. ORTs single largest operational country is Israel with more than 90,000 students Jews, Israeli Arabs, Druze and Bedouins in 159 educational establishments.