ORT HP Digital Community Centre opens in Ukraine


12 May 2004 ORT and Hewlett-Packard have once again joined forces to open a Digital Community Centre (DCC), this time in Slavutych, Ukraine. ORTs latest partnership with HP, part of a three-year community development project, comes after a similar centre was opened in Dikhatole, South Africa and in advance of the opening of an additional centre next week in Tula, Russia. HP is funding the Slavutych DCC as part of its global corporate philanthropy programme to overcome the digital divide. Mikhail Stepko, Deputy of the Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine pictured with students at the ORT HP Digital Community Centre The DCC programme provides the tools for learning and competing in the digital economy, to communities with the greatest need. The programme includes HP products, services and consulting to help communities to harness technology in collaboration with partners, including schools, universities, local government, community services, non-profit organisations. At the official opening of the Slavutych centre Vlad Lerner, World ORT Representative for Ukraine, Moldova and the Baltic States, stated, ORT is proud to continue its cooperation with HP and to be a part of the Digital Community Centre in Slavutych. The project represents an important investment in the future of Slavutych, a future beyond Chernobyl, and serves as an example of how modern technology can transform communities throughout Ukraine. Within the framework of the community development project, ORT is working with the Slavutych municipal and educational authorities and the Slavutych branch of the Kiev Polytechnic Institute (KPI) to establish a 50-computer training centre with three Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Labs, a resource centre for preparing teaching aids and administrative offices. Slavutych was built in 1988 to provide a new home for workers from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant after the worlds worst nuclear accident devastated the area two years earlier. The final reactor at the power plant halted production in December 2000, but Slavutych still remains economically dependent on the now non-functional power plant during its decommissioning. Diversification is necessary for the citys survival and further development. The mission of the DCC in Slavutych is the application of new knowledge and modern information technology to provide educational services for the development of Slavutych. The centre also aims to improve the level of secondary and higher education in the city, to provide professional orientation training to future graduates of Slavutych educational establishments and to provide vocational training for community needs groups, including disabled youth and orphans as well as those facing unemployment in cooperation with community organizations. The new DCC in Slavutych will be fully incorporated into the ORT network of training centres in the CIS, receiving full access to ORT curriculum development capabilities as well as ORTs distance learning system. This will allow the centre to offer a full range of ICT courses providing it with the tools to design its courses to fit the specific needs of the community. It is estimated that at full capacity around 1,500 people of all ages will benefit every year from training at the DCC. HP is donating all equipment and covering the centres operating expenses during its first three years of operation. Equipped with powerful HP computers, printers, and network technologies to facilitate advanced learning and in-house production of educational materials, the DCC in Slavutych is to feature top of the range Hewlett Packard facilities. The DCC plans to continue to develop training programs targeting these core groups. Discussions are also underway with the city administration, municipal employment service, and Slavutychs Agency of Business Development to provide courses to upgrade the skills of municipal employees, unemployed, and local entrepreneurs. In Ukraine, where ORT has four schools, the main activities include professional and technology education, specializing in innovative uses of information and communication technologies.