21 January 2010 ORT colleges in Moscow and Strasbourg fashion strong ties ORT Strasbourg is busy preparing for the first group of Russian students it is hosting under the bilateral agreement it signed with the Moscow ORT Technology College just over a year ago. The group of half-a-dozen fashion design students is due to spend a week at ORT Strasbourg in April joining in classes and collaborating with their French peers on a joint project. Not for dummies: Moscow ORT Technology College and ORT Strasbourg are sharing know-how on teaching fashion design. This year has been designated the Year of Russia in France and the Year of France in Russia by the countries governments and the ORT Moscow students will take part in events related to what is a massive cultural and economic project promoting friendly relations. This is something of an introductory trip but it has real educational value, said Moscow ORT Technology College Deputy Director Igor Pavlov. Students will be expected to participate in a joint fashion show with the French students and the teachers accompanying them will provide some master classes. The colleges closer relationship is an example of the benefits of belonging to World ORTs international network. World ORT is about knowledge management in education, said World ORTs Chief Programme Officer, Vladimir Dribinskiy. We knew that ORT Strasbourg wanted to include fashion design in its curriculum so we matched it with the ORT College in Moscow which, with our support, has become one of the best colleges in Russia with a highly successful fashion design department. So we arranged for ORT France National Director Marc Timsit and subsequently ORT Strasbourg Director Claude Sabbah and his then Deputy, Michel Benoilid to visit Moscow and the rest is history. While France traditionally has the international reputation for being a centre of the fashion industry, ORT Strasbourg is relatively new to teaching fashion design. Indeed, the Russian visitors will arrive in the closing stages of the first intake for its BTS diploma course in fashion, a two-year course which enables graduates to study at a Masters level in university. On the other hand, 13 years after joining the ORT network, the Moscow college is recognised as offering the best vocational training in fashion design in Russia. Its students regularly win city- and nationwide fashion contests and enjoy master classes with internationally renowned Russian couturiers including Viatcheslav Zaitsev and Valentin Yudashkin. The Moscow ORT Technology College has, therefore, considerable experience that it can share with other ORT institutions throughout the world. In return, the direct contacts which the College makes with other ORT institutions enrich it very much, Mr Pavlov said. It enhances our attractiveness to parents of potential students because it opens up the possibility of their children receiving certified training overseas which looks very good on the resume of a graduate seeking work. And, of course, it is good professional experience for our teachers to provide master classes abroad. The focus on fashion in the colleges cooperation agreement is on fashion design is facilitated by the compatibility of their respective fashion design faculties, which share similar teaching, classes, workshops and equipment. This is the first partnership we have made with an ORT school and, for me, developing collaboration within the ORT network was the primary objective, said ORT Strasbourgs Mr Sabbah. But I am confident that linking with Moscow will enhance the attractiveness of our fashion design courses to potential students. I am looking forward to hosting the Moscow group and to sending our students and teachers to Moscow to learn their techniques in the autumn. For the April visit, it is planned to host the Russians in the homes of French students so that the undergraduates have more opportunity to form strong links. The main criteria for choosing students to participate in this exchange are their academic performance, creativity, the originality of their collections, activity in college life, sociability and good communication skills, Mr Pavlov said. In group activities, Strasbourg student Katya Skripnikova will act as an interpreter but students are expected to be able to communicate informally using English and French. In addition to physical exchanges, the two colleges are set to embark on a series of videoconferenced master classes distance learning being another speciality of the Moscow college, which hosts the ORT Lawson Vocational Training Centre. A videoconference is due to be held next month during which students and teachers design projects will be demonstrated. In a videoconference last month between Mr Sabbah, Mr Pavlov and their respective fashion design teachers and students, the idea of internships was discussed. But such long-term exchanges will require extensive planning because of the legal, linguistic and other challenges involved. The Moscow ORT College has 1,400 full time students enrolled in five faculties: advertising technology, fashion design, economics, hospitality and marketing. Couturier students not only learn the basics of making and modelling of clothes, textiles, drawing and graphics they can also pursue higher level qualifications in Computer Aided Design (CAD), textile drawing and painting. ORT Strasbourg has 450 students at school and university level. The BTS fashion design course has students learning French, philosophy, English as a foreign language, physics, economics and management as well as plastic arts and design culture, and creation and conception and technology. At the end of their first year all students must undertake an internship so that they can practice their technical know-how in a genuine work environment. Other post-high school courses offered include international trade and commerce, computer sciences and a special two-year course to prepare students for Frances top engineering schools. It is also the first private college in France to offer a three-year bachelor degree course in collaboration with a university the Licence Professionel des Metiers de lOptique et de la Vision for opticians.