11 September 2007 ORT students back to school for new academic year The Israeli Ambassador to Russia, Anna Azari, has hailed the opportunities provided by an ORT education at a ceremony in Moscow marking the start of the new academic year. Ms Azari joined students, parents, teachers and guests at Moscow ORT School 1299 for the traditional opening of the new term. She noted the importance of education to Jewish families and added: Its wonderful that students here have the opportunity to achieve highly in technological subjects. This education will give you a competitive edge when it comes to finding a job and allow you to live a life of dignity. ORT Russia President Professor Alexander Asmolov delighted the children by comparing them with Frodo Baggins, the hero of Tolkiens Lord of the Rings trilogy. Frodo was chosen to perform heroic tasks, Professor Asmolov said. You are chosen too ORT schools are very special and you have a unique opportunity to get a good education. Evgen Vysokogliad rings the bell to open the school year at ORT Kiev Technology Lyceum. The Second Secretary of the Israeli Embassy in Ukraine, Angela Mindel, was a special guest at the opening of the ORT Kiev Technology Lyceum. Speaking in Hebrew a testament to the high standard of language teaching at the school Ms Mindel spoke about preparing for Rosh Hashanah, reminding students that there were spiritual and moral lessons to be learned as well as academic ones. The Director of the World ORT Representative Office in Ukraine and Moldova, Dr Slava Leshchiner, said the first day of school provided an opportunity for graduates of World ORT summer programmes to share their experiences with their peers. These students will be making a special contribution to their schools thanks to the studies they completed during the summer vacation. Its a special feature of the year that we will have these volunteers helping many of their fellow students, Dr Leshchiner said. One such student is Anna Tuitina, a graduate of the World ORT Rosner English Summer School in London, who is preparing to support the work of the English department at the ORT Herzl Technology Lyceum in Kishinev, Moldova. Another is Evgen Vysokogliad, a graduate of World ORTs inaugural Raya Cowan Summer School at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. Graduates from both these summer schools will also make a contribution to the new year at ORT Renzo Levi School in Rome, said ORT Italy President Professor Giacomo Saban. The new school year was even busier than usual at ORT Renzo Levi because part of the school building, situated in the citys historic Ghetto, has been refurbished to accommodate elementary pupils. This year, ORT Renzo Levi students are benefiting from new science laboratories provided by World ORT and teachers who have had World ORT training in the use of technology in the classroom. I am quite satisfied with how things are progressing not only in Rome but also in Milan, where the new school principal is interested in increasing links with World ORT, Professor Saban said. In France, the ORT network has embarked on a dynamic new year with brand new courses and higher student enrolments. The ORT high school in Montreuil, a suburb of Paris, now has 720 students the highest number in a decade following the completion of major renovations. Senior students there now enjoy greater choice thanks to the introduction of a post-Baccalaureate course in optics. The course is one that has been operating very successfully at ORT Strasbourg, a school which has itself introduced another new course, a post-Baccalaureate class in applied arts. Both ORT Strasbourg and ORT Toulouse are running their dormitories at full capacity. ORT Marseilles has introduced a two-year post-Baccalaureate vocational course in real estate and ORT Lyons now boasts a middle school as well as a high school following renovations there. The school, whose students now range from 11 to 18 years of age, is bilingual in French and English. ORT France Director General Marc Timsit was not surprised by the increased enrolment at his schools. We are getting more students because we have embarked on a strategic change in the level of our training, which responds better to the demands of our community. Also, its thanks to the quality of the technical equipment and educational facilities in our schools, which are continually being improved, Mr Timsit said. In Israel, the World ORT Representative Office has a new Head Rony Kalinsky. Mr Kalinsky, who spent 20 years in the Education and Youth Corps of the IDF and two years as Director of Education Programmes at the Sachta Rashi Foundation, said that the coming year was full of promise with the continued implementation of Kadima Mada (Science Journey). Were in a very important niche of the education sector science and technology, Mr Kalinsky said. There are not many organisations helping in this specific area and the needs of the education system are very great. I think we have a great opportunity to help Israels education sector, not only in formal education but also in informal education. Children are in school for only half the day; if we really want to make a impact we will have to think about programmes that also meet the needs of children in the other half of the day. Mr Kalinsky said the World ORT office in Israel had impressed school principals and mayors across the country by the speed and professionalism with which it had decided upon and implemented projects associated with Kadima Mada, the $7.2 million programme to raise the standard of science and technology teaching in Israel. Everywhere I go, I hear people impressed that we dont just talk, we bring solutions. This is not so common in Israel, Mr Kalinsky said. 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. The Moscow ceremony was just one of dozens such ceremonies held at ORT schools across the Former Soviet Union. Special guests included the First Secretary of the Israeli Embassy, Bolestav Yatvetskiy, and the head of the Jewish Agencys representative office in St Petersburg, Anna Perelman, at ORTs Jerusalem School in St Petersburg.