18 September 2007 Top educators from the Former Soviet Union inspired by World ORT tour of Israel A group of 15 senior figures from the education systems of Ukraine, Moldova, Russia and Belarus are in Israel this week on a VIP mission organised by World ORT. Accompanied by the Director of the World ORT Representative Office in Ukraine and Moldova, Dr Slava Leshchiner, and World ORTs Representative in Russia, Belarus and Central Asia, Avi Ganon, the group is visiting schools and tertiary institutions working with World ORT as well touring sites of cultural interest. Speaking after a visit to Shaar HaNegev School, one of dozens of schools across the country benefiting from World ORTs $7.2 million Kadima Mada (Science Journey) programme to raise the standard of science and technology education, Mr Ganon said the mission participants had been inspired by what they had seen. They thought it was a beautiful school. They were delighted to see that, in spite of rocket attacks from Gaza, the children there were smiling and, with World ORTs support, were able to continue learning like children around the world, Mr Ganon said. In addition to a new, high-tech laboratory and a World ORT Teaching Empowerment Centre (WOTEC), World ORT has supplied Shaar HaNegev with a mobile computer laboratory comprising 30 laptops that allows students to continue with their work even in the bomb shelter. Mission members were very impressed by the equipment that World ORT has provided and immediately started to think about how they could make such facilities available in their own schools, Mr Ganon said. The VIP mission at the Western Wall, Jerusalem. The Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russian Federation, Nail Valeev, commended World ORT for doing excellent work in the danger zone bordering Gaza. Mr Valeev said he was impressed by Shaar HaNegev and by World ORTs critical support for the school. As a result of what he had seen on the mission so far, he said he would like to introduce vocational courses in his schools and to examine imitating Shaar HaNegevs system of incorporating years one through to 11 on a single campus. Education in my country is traditionally very academic so I would like to focus more on professional, vocational courses, the Minister said. Adopting the system of keeping all classes on one site would allow senior students to be role models for the younger ones and so create a community within the school. World ORTs VIP mission is the result of months of preparation and is aimed to stimulate and facilitate an exchange of experiences and ideas between participants, most of whom have not visited Israel before, and their Israeli peers. The VIPs started their week by meeting Gery Koren, the Head of the Euro-Asian Desk in Israels Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Professor Sydney Strauss, the Ministry of Educations Chief Scientist. Education Ministry Chief Scientist Sydney Strauss (in the white shirt) briefs the VIP mission on recent reforms in Israeli education. In addition to Shaar HaNegev, the mission is also visiting the Weizmann Institute of Science, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, where World ORT has had highly successful summer schools for Israeli and foreign students, and Kadoorie High School, which enjoys strong links with World ORT through Kadima Mada. Rony Kalinsky, the Head of the World ORT Representative Office in Israel, said he was delighted to meet such a high profile group of visitors from the Former Soviet Union. Developing contacts with such experienced, highly skilled people will prove to be of tremendous benefit to us all, Mr Kalinsky said. Mr Ganon added: Im very satisfied with the level of interest shown by our guests. This mission will help to bring the ORT ethos to their countries and help us to develop more joint projects between World ORT and the states of the Former Soviet Union. The mission participants are: First Deputy Head of Administration of Education in Kiev, Vera Gorunova, the Head of the Municipal Department of Public Education in Odessa, Natalia Savelieva, the Head of Administration of Education and Science in Zaporojie, Dmitriy Sekhirinskiy, the Head of Pre-University Education of the Ministry of Education and Youth of Moldova, Nadejda Velishko, the Director General of the Central Administration of Education and Youth of the Municipal Government of Chisinau, Moldova, Tatiana Tverdohleb, the Minister of Education and Science of Tatarstan, Nail Valeev, the Head of the Municipal Administration of Education of Kazan, Ilsur Khadiullin, the First Deputy Director of the Samara Department of Education, Vera Khalaeva, the Head of the Education Department of the Central District of St Petersburg, Irina Aslanyan, the Head of the Committee of Education of St Petersburgs Kirovsky district, Zanna Vorobiova, the Director of School No 274, Janna Kuzmina, Representative of the Department of State Policy in Education of the Russian Federations Ministry of Education and Science, Svetlana Teterina, the Vice-Head of Preschool and General Education of the Moscow Department of Education, Elena Zayceva, the Deputy Head of Administration of Education of Moscows South-West District, Tatiana Guseva, Representative of the Moscow Department of Education, Irina Ryabinina, and the Head of the Education Department of the Administration of the Frunsenskiy District of Minsk, Sergey Strenkovskiy. After an enforced absence, World ORT returned to Russia in 1991. It now coordinates operations in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania and Kyrgyzstan 53 projects in 32 locations serving more than 30,000 people. World ORT is the worlds largest Jewish education and vocational training non-government organisation and has benefited more than 3 million people Jewish and non-Jewish in 100 countries since its foundation in 1880.