World ORT’s contribution to Israeli education is set to increase now that 48 schools have formally affiliated to the organisation.
Since 2007, World ORT has directly supported more than 50 schools in 32 relatively under-resourced communities in Israel’s periphery through its Kadima Mada programme, providing world class technology, laboratories, staff facilities and training that have transformed the prospects for thousands of children.
Affiliation will strengthen and regularise this cooperation. “Until now we have worked together on various projects but from now on we will be true partners and this closer relationship will open up more cooperation between us,”? said Binyamin Hadad, Principal of Kfar Hassidim Youth Village, near Haifa. “What began with projects will become an on-going, year-round experience of working together, thinking together. It’s more meaningful than just working on projects; we will be part of a network of schools that have formal cooperation with World ORT… This is a special opportunity to work together for the kids and not for any other reason.”?
Mr Hadad said that creating this closer relationship made sense given the goals shared by his school, which has boarding facilities for children who need them, and World ORT.
“Our kids come from very difficult backgrounds, at home they don’t have the possibilities to learn what they need for the modern world. We want to open up the 21 st Century to our kids, to give them everything they need here so that they can join mainstream Israeli society. That’s what World ORT is doing and what we’re doing.”?
Affiliation means regular access to national and international forums, mutual support with the sharing of curriculum resources and developments, training in Jewish and general education, participation in educational exchange programmes, and a host of opportunities to exchange ideas through international forums and conferences.
“This is a hugely important development that will greatly enrich staff and students at all schools in the World ORT network,”? said World ORT Director General and CEO Robert Singer.
Moti Dotan, Mayor of Lower Galilee, and member of the World ORT Board of Trustees, said that having nearly 90 per cent of the schools which have participated in Kadima Mada sign up for affiliation showed the level of confidence in World ORT’s professionalism.
“For me as Mayor, who knows the Israeli system all too well, I have never known so many schools and municipalities to demonstrate such trust in so short a time,”? he said.
In Kiryat Yam, where World ORT has recently completed a multi-million-dollar programme to develop the Alex and Betty Schoenbaum Science, Educational, Cultural and Sports Campus, six schools have affiliated.
The city’s mayor, Shmuel Sisso, said: “The World ORT Kadima Mada programme has demonstrated what can be accomplished by investing in people. As a result, students and their teachers have been given the encouragement to achieve what they are capable of. Affiliation to the World ORT network is a major step forward along a path that will lead to many more opportunities for all of us.”?
Assad Shibli, headmaster of the school serving the Arab village bearing his family’s name, said the benefits of cooperating with World ORT have become increasingly obvious to all.
“You can’t imagine how the shape of our school has changed internally thanks to the laboratories, computers and other resources World ORT has provided as an answer to our needs,”? Mr Shibli said. “I’m sure that the prospects of our students are better now than they were even 10 years ago “ﾓ you can see the difference. I hope that affiliation will mean an increase in the benefits and the development of our school.”?
Avi Ganon, Acting Executive Director of Kadima Mada, praised his staff and the teachers in the schools who have put so much energy into creating programmes that help children to achieve more.
“Over the past five years we have worked closely with these schools and have seen many improvements,”? Mr Ganon said. “We can now do so much more for the affiliated schools. This will be a two-way process that will also strengthen schools in the Diaspora.”?