22 November 2006 ORT to evaluate modernisation of Russian education system ORT has been chosen to assess progress in the implementation of a World Bank-funded programme to increase the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Russias education sector. ORTs experts in Moscow and St Petersburg devised a special mathematical model to allow them to efficiently and effectively map the performance of 6,000 schools in seven regions of the Russian Federation. The two-year ORT study will assess the progress made so far in the World Bank-funded e-Learning Support Project (ELSP), the first phase of which is half-way through its four-year duration. ORT is also a leading candidate on the shortlist for other ELSP-related projects. ORT won the tender for this important task because of the weight of our background in the field of education and technology and because of the unique methodology proposed by our professionals in Moscow and St Petersburg, said the Head of World ORTs Coordination Department, Vladimir Dribinskiy. In 2004, the World Bank made available $100 million for Russia to improve accessibility, quality and efficiency of general and vocational education across the country. ORTs project has two main tasks, said Dr Sergey Gorinskiy, the Head of the Research and Development Department at ORT Russia and the Baltic States. We will formulate an understanding of how successful the modernisation process is and we will provide consulting services to help schools emulate those institutions that we identify as having performed best. ORT students also stand to benefit from an ORT study into the use of ICT in Russias education system. The evaluation will be made using a mathematical model specially developed by Gregory Vodopyan, who is based in St Petersburg. The other members of the ORT team working on this project are Pavel Yakuskin, Andrew Semenov and Anna Yakuskina, all of whom are in Moscow. The model allows us to cluster data according to shared characteristics, said Dr Gorinskiy. Therefore, schools will be clustered into groups according to various criteria such as the number of computers, quality of teachers etcetera and we can assess why any particular school moves from one group to another. The ELSP, which is implemented by Russias National Training Foundation, is aimed at raising the majority of school in the targeted regions to a level of ICT use that will result in the efficient use of digital learning resources and electronic tools necessary for full participation in knowledge society; promote active and independent student learning; and encourage the flexible organisation of learning according to the projects Task Manager, Mary Canning. But Dr Gorinskiy said that ORTs educational network stood to gain from the evaluation process. We will, of course, learn things, that will benefit our own schools, he said. While we are helping the National Training Foundation we are simultaneously finding ways to improve our own performance. ORT resumed operations in the former Soviet Union in 1991. It now coordinates operations in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania and Kyrgyzstan 53 projects in 32 locations serving more than 27,000 people. World ORT is the worlds largest Jewish education and vocational training non-government organisation with more than 200,000 students Jewish and non-Jewish in 58 countries.