March 02, 2007 World ORT upgrades science and technology at Israeli schools Work is underway to upgrade science and technology facilities in high schools across Israel as part of World ORTs Kadima Mada (Science Journey) programme. In cooperation with the Israeli Ministry of Education, 25 high schools were selected for this first phase of support. The schools are receiving brand new, bespoke, state-of-the-art laboratories based on information gained during personal visits by senior World ORT staff last month. Each school will receive a package tailored to its own specific needs and worth approximately $50,000 each, said World ORT Director General Robert Singer. Between 25,000 and 35,000 students stand to benefit from the Science Journey programme by the end of the year if all goes according to plan. The $50,000 figure includes the cost of the laboratory equipment which will be geared towards biotechnology, ICT, electronics or science depending on the school and a four-year budget to provide upgrading and teacher training, which will ensure the projects sustainability. Kadima Mada is a NIS 32 million ($7.4 million) programme aimed at raising the standards of science and technology education in Israel. The programmes hundreds of projects in more than 30 local authorities mark a new phase in World ORTs 59-year-long commitment to bring the best practical education available to the Jewish State. World ORTs Dr Gaby Meyassed, centre, with Israels Minister of Education Professor Yuli Tamir, left, and the Mayor of the Upper Galilee Regional Council Aharon Valency. World ORT has written to the mayors of Shaar NaNegev, Hof Ashkelon, Kiryat Malachi, Abu Snan, Kfar Kana, Nahariya, Kaduri, Upper Galilee, Shfaram, Or Akiva, Horfish, Katzerin, Misgav, Tirat HaCarmel, Kiryat Yam, Nesher, Beersheva, Kiryat Ata and Beit Shemesh telling them that schools in their districts have been chosen to participate in the first phase of Kadima Mada. The local authorities will contribute to the package by providing appropriately refurbished spaces at the schools to house the laboratories, employ part-time laboratory coordinators and to organise and pay for insurance cover. These students at Shima School in Hof Ashkelon will benefit from a brand new ICT laboratory thanks to World ORT. The focus of Phase 1 of Kadima Mada is on schools in the north of Israel, which suffered the brunt of last summers war with Hezbollah, and on those in areas which are prone to rocket attack from Gaza. The needs in all the chosen schools are tremendous, said Sonia Gomes de Mesquita, the Head of World ORTs International Liaison Department. But we believe we will have a good, cooperative relationship with them that will result in tangible benefits for students and communities both Jewish and non-Jewish for years to come. 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.