A new programme to help ORT educators exploit the opportunities afforded by World ORT’s global presence is due to be launched in this month. The first meeting of the World ORT Educators’ Forum will bring 31 senior educators and school principals from 15 countries to ORT House in London to design and map out strategies for the programme which will start in earnest in 2015.
“The aim is to improve knowledge and skills in dealing with management and organisational “ﾓ as well as pedagogic “ﾓ issues; to nurture the next generation of educational leadership for ORT around the world,”? said the Head of World ORT’s Education Department, Daniel Tysman. “We also want to foster a greater sense of working together within the ORT network.”?
The Forum joins World ORT’s Hatter, Moshinsky and Wingate Seminars and its Naomi Prawer Kadar International Seminar for Digital Technology in Jewish Education as a way in which the organisation creates opportunities for educators to meet and not only share their experiences but develop collegial relationships so that they will learn from each other on an on-going basis.
The value of World ORT’s international network has never been greater. Andreas Schleicher, Deputy Director for Education and Skills and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the OECD’s Secretary General, has noted that recent years of economic crisis “has brought home the urgency of equipping more people with better skills to collaborate, compete and connect in ways that drive our economies forward, foster employment and reduce social inequality”?.
Mr Schleicher made his comment in his analysis of the latest of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s triennial PISA tests, which examine the competencies of more than half-a-million 15-year-olds in reading, maths and science in 65 countries and economies.
“The PISA report shows that many of the issues facing schools today are often the same regardless of which continent they’re on or their country’s level of economic development,”? said Mr Tysman. “As a global organisation, World ORT’s approach is to encourage schools not to look only upwards to their respective ministries of education but to look outwards, to see what best practices are employed by other schools in the ORT network.”?
“The inaugural World ORT Educators’ Forum will discuss our experiences and opinions on topics including the potential impact of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), institutional self-assessment tools, new approaches to the professional development of staff, improving inclusive education and strategic management of transformational change.”?
Through its professional development seminars World ORT demonstrates its commitment to the notion expressed by Mr Schleicher that “nowhere does the quality of a school system exceed the quality of its teachers”?.
Mr Tysman: “The most important factor driving the improvement of schools is the quality of teachers. The evidence shows that investing in professional development of existing staff will eventually give the same rewards as recruiting the most qualified individuals. So our aim is to retain our good teachers and help them to bring out their greatness.”?