New ORT Technology Centres for St Petersburg schools


30 May 2007 ORT Technology Centres open during Executive Committee meeting in St Petersburg World ORTs senior lay leaders and officers gathered in the organisations founding city this week for the first of this years two Executive Committee meetings. During the three days of seminars, presentations, strategic discussions and decision making time was made to inaugurate two new ORT Technology Centres in local schools. ORT de Gunzburgs Technology Centre includes a media centre, a technology laboratory, physics laboratory and four computer laboratories with 97 terminals connected to a local network and the Internet. In addition to providing the focus for technology programmes to promote skills in information and multimedia technologies, desktop publishing and web design for the schools 460 students between the ages of six and 17, the ORT de Gunzburg Technology Centre is used extensively for extra curricular and community activities. World ORT Deputy President Dr Jean de Gunzburg a direct descendant of Baron Horace de Gunzburg, who co-founded ORT in St Petersburg 127 years ago is a major supporter of the project. My family financed the computer lab at the school 12 years ago, Dr de Gunzburg said. There has been investment in the meantime but what were doing now is a continuation of our previous involvement to bring the science and technology equipment up to date. And what they have now is absolutely fantastic you wont find anything better anywhere else. Coming hot on the heels of the schools winning of the prestigious Presidents Prize, the new ORT de Gunzburg Technology Centre is a major contribution to it maintaining its status as one of the best schools in Russia, Dr de Gunzburg said. The students are getting the best possible education, he added. This all adds up to something fantastic and positive. World ORT Executive Committee Vice Chair Judy Menikoff, World ORT President Sir Maurice Hatter and ORT America Executive Committee Chair Shelley Fagel with students at the Beit Menahem-Ohr Avner Jewish School. World ORTs four-year investment programme in ORT de Gunzburg will also see the implementation of our Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme to raise teachers qualifications, financial incentives to retain the best teachers, the development of innovative curricula and the upgrading of ICT and technology facilities. Similar benefits are flowing to the Beit Menahem-Ohr Avner Jewish School with the opening of an ORT Technology Centre there. With World ORTs help the school, which is supported by the Ohr Avner Foundation, the Jewish Agency and the Israeli Ministry of Education, provides cutting-edge science and technology training within a traditional Jewish environment. The ORT Technology Centres Computer Graphics training laboratory, resource laboratory, ICT training laboratory and media library features 40 terminals and all necessary auxiliary equipment such as printers and scanners. ORT America Executive Committee Chair Shelley Fagel was impressed by how up to date the technology at the Centre was and noted it was housed in large, bright rooms that provided a positive environment for learning. Partnering Beit Menahem-Ohr Avner is a wonderful opportunity for ORT to work with students from more religious backgrounds and so promote goodwill in the Jewish community of St Petersburg, Ms Fagel said. Together with ORTs specially designed technology curriculum, the Centre will provide the schools 160 students with in-depth training in multiple technological fields with courses in Computer Science and Technology, Computer Graphics, Programming, Web Design and Office Technology. Advanced ICT will not only be a subject in its own right, but also an essential tool for learning and teaching all other subjects, said World ORTs Representative in Russia, Belarus and Central Asia, Avi Ganon. By using the Internet, educational software and multimedia applications for Jewish subjects, the ORT Technology Centre will create a rich, in-depth learning experience that will attract and inspire young Jewish students. World ORT Executive Committee Chairman Mauricio Merikanskas, World ORT President Sir Maurice Hatter and World ORT Deputy President Dr Jean de Gunzburg inaugurating the ORT de Gunzburg Technology Centre. There are now three schools in St Petersburg that boast ORT Technology Centres the ORT Jerusalem School, which has 764 students between the ages of seven and 17, opened its centre in October last year. The Technology Centres are part of World ORTs Regeneration 2004 programme, through which ORT is reaching out to more Jewish communities in the CIS and Baltic States. This follow-on programme from the highly successful Regeneration 2000 will see the teaching of technology and other subjects raised to international levels to ensure that the schools are attractive to Jewish students and so provide an important platform for the future of their communities. The Executive Committee meeting featured overviews and updates on World ORT activities and programmes in Israel, the Former Soviet Union and around the world as well as administrative reports. The Executive Committee also heard from Israels Ambassador to Russia, Anna Azari, on bilateral relations between Moscow and Jerusalem, and from the American Deputy Consul General, Allen Greenberg. 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.