New high-tech resource for Czech Jewish school


10 November 2005 New science and technology resource for Pragues Jewish community World ORT has set up a cutting edge computer centre in the Czech Republics only Jewish school. Last weeks informal launch of the new centre, at the Lauder Gur Aryeh Jewish Community Day School in Prague, marked the completion of the first stage of a four-year, $180,000 project to provide students with access to 21st century skills. Jointly funded by World ORT and The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, and with a valuable contribution by American donor Raymond Tye, the new Lauder-ORT Science and Technology Centre boasts the most up-to-date facilities for studying Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Students using the new facility will be exposed to computer-based applications, tools and methods that will provide a foundation for their careers and further education, said the Head of World ORTs Coordination Department, Vladimir Dribinskiy. These will prove invaluable, whatever career paths the students decide to pursue. Mr Dribinskiy said the World ORT project had been driven forward by the organisations lay leader in the Czech Republic, Radan Salomonovic. In coming years, World ORT would train teachers in the use of ICT in general as well as high-tech subjects. This would be followed by the introduction of more science and technology hardware such as computer interfaces and laboratory equipment. World ORT Czech lay leader Radan Salomonovic addresses the launch. The school, which has more than 150 students from elementary to high, was founded in 1997. Teacher Michal Kaderka is also World ORTs representative at the school. The old computer lab was set up in 1998 so it needed updating, he said. ORTs help really is in the right place and at the right time. The school is very proud to be a part of this project. World ORT has embarked on several collaborations with The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, including ICT centres in Jewish schools in Kishinev, Riga and Vilnius. Two years ago, World ORT opened the Lauder-ORT Science and Technology Centre in the Bulgarian capital Sofia. Representing The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation at the opening was Dr Leo Pavlat, who is also Director of the Jewish Museum in Prague. The Secretary of the Prague Jewish Community, Charles Weiner, also attended. Dr Leo Pavlat (right) and Charles Weiner try out the new equipment Mr Dribinskiy said a formal opening ceremony featuring senior Ronald S. Lauder Foundation representatives and World ORT lay leaders was being planned. Dr George Ban, Executive Vice President and CEO of The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, said his organisation was proud to have been a partner in this fifth project with World ORT. Every Jewish philanthropic organisation has its own aims and goals but with World ORT we can see that there are certain meeting points where we can, in a manner of speaking, complete each other rather than compete, Dr Ban said. This benefits both our organisations but, above all, this cooperation benefits our students. World ORT Director General Robert Singer said the new Lauder-ORT Science and Technology Centre marked a serious consolidation of ORTs return to the Czech Republic since the fall of Communism. Soon after the war, ORT was running more than 30 vocational courses in what was then Czechoslovakia, until the Communist regime took them over, Mr Singer said. We returned to Prague in 1996 with the opening of a computer laboratory at the Education and Culture Centre of the Jewish Museum and were now very proud to be supporting the Jewish school. World ORT, founded in 1880, is the worlds largest Jewish educational and vocational training non-government organisation with some 270,000 students Jewish and non-Jewish in 58 countries.