A burgeoning high-tech business cluster around St Petersburg means the city’s ORT schools are well placed “ﾓ educationally and geographically “ﾓ to equip their students with the skills they will need to succeed in new career opportunities.
In a policy echoing the modernisation of Russia’s economy in the 18th century by Tsar Peter the Great, the city which bears his name is attracting major national and international players in high-tech industries to set up shop. Already recognised as a national leader in information and communication technologies, the St Petersburg region has just celebrated the opening of its first, large-scale, foreign-owned electronics factory: the $50 million Foxconn plant is expected to make 40,000 Hewlett-Packard computers a month “ﾓ and the first 20 have been presented to ORT School 274.
“It is a great honour to become the first users of these new, Russian-built computers. This gift is an investment in the future of our country,”? said the school’s Principal, Janna Kuzmina, at a ceremony attended by St Petersburg Governor Valentina Matvienko, and Vice-Governor Mikhail Oseevsky, Foxconn Russia General Director Andrew Korzhakov, HP Russia General Director Alexander Mikoyan and other business and civic leaders.
Later, Ms Kuzmina said that the new computers represented an “important step”? in the modernisation of the school’s educational infrastructure.
“They will replace those in the informatics class and the old computers will be distributed for use in physics, maths and other classes,”? she said. “Hewlett-Packard’s support is a great motivation for both students and teachers. Modern equipment eases the form of material presentation, helps to visualise and improve it. Such a gift will have a direct influence on the atmosphere in class, the performance of the students and the effectiveness of their learning.”?
The gift was the latest example of the long and fruitful partnership between ORT Russia and HP, said ORT Russia National Director Dr Sergey Gorinskiy.
“It is a mutually beneficial partnership of two highly competent teams,”? Dr Gorinskiy said. “We unite HP knowledge and resources and 130 years of ORT experience in the educational field to reach a common goal “ﾓ overcoming the digital divide.”?
Speaking later, Dr Gorinskiy noted that ORT schools were part of a worldwide network which prized scientific and technology education and other practical subjects for young people preparing for a fast-changing and increasingly competitive jobs market.
“In Russia, ORT is a major bridge between Western and Russian education,”? he said. “It’s the only organisation which can provide this educational approach and so provide students with skills in international cooperation. Our schools are well positioned to equip students with the skills that will be in demand as foreign investment in Russia continues to grow.”?
The Foxconn production plant is set to become the basis for a new ICT cluster in St Petersburg. Sergei Fiveisky, who is in charge of the project for the city government, said the 10,000 square-metre plant reaffirms the long-term plans of foreign investors in the area. Last year, Nissan opened a factory there and fellow carmaker Hyundai is due to follow suit this year. In addition, the Finnish firm Technopolis is due to open a technology park.
“The [Foxconn] plant will undoubtedly attract the attention of other major computer companies,”? Governor Matvienko told the ceremony. “Tough economic conditions will soon be a thing of the past. The day is not far off when this plant will produce computers not only for Russia for other countries.”?
Taiwan-based Foxconn is the world’s largest electronics manufacturer and makes a range of well-known products including the iPod and iPhone for Apple, PlayStation 2 and 3 for Sony, Wii for Nintendo, Xbox 360 for Microsoft, cell phones for Motorola, and equipment for Cisco.
Following its merger with Compaq in 2002, US-based HP became the world’s largest provider of personal computers. It employs more than 300,000 people and last year enjoyed an income of $115 billion.
World ORT’s collaboration with HP began in 2001 with the “ﾘDigital Village’ programme in Dikhatole, near Johannesburg. In 2004, HP and ORT again joined forces to open Digital Community Centres in Slavutych, Ukraine and Tula, Russia, and within a year the Micro Enterprise Acceleration Programme Centre was opened in Samara. In 2007, HP initiated GET-IT which seeds entrepreneurial energy and develops business and IT skills in young people and recent graduates. ORT Russia has established 16 GET-IT centres in Russia and Ukraine.