Press Release Mast
06 May 2010
ORT makes dreams come true in Bulgaria
World ORT has installed a state-of-the-art multimedia centre at the Lauder-ORT Dimcho Debeljanov Jewish School in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, making it the only school in the country to have such a facility.
The official opening last week attracted more than 100 people, including the Mayor, Jordanka Fandakova, journalists and principals of other schools who could be forgiven for being just a little envious.
“Plasma monitors are about as advanced as it gets at other schools,”? said ORT Bulgaria Chairman Dr Emil Kalo. “We are very, very ahead with 11 “ﾘsmart classrooms’, a computer laboratory, technology laboratory and a resource centre. All of this is absolutely thanks to ORT know-how. Even schools dedicated to media training do not have anything like this.”?
Dr Kalo added: “The opening event was billed as a lecture with the title Dreaming as a Method of Management “ﾓ so I spoke about how ORT is making dreams come true.”?
World ORT is raising $300,000 over four years to install the multimedia centre and ensure its effective operation. A generous donation by ORT Basel has secured the first stage of the project.
The new facility boasts a photographic studio equipped with digital technology; an audio and radio studio which will enable students to create radio programmes and teachers to create Hebrew and English language programmes and audio courses for use in the classroom; and a television and video studio which allows students and teachers to take part in videoconferencing and live distance-learning sessions for the first time.
A letter from Bulgaria’s Education Minister, Professor Simeon Ignatov, was read out at the opening ceremony.
“Someone very wise once said: “ﾘThe best way to predict the future is to create the future yourself.’ He was without doubt speaking about young people who have always defined their own, and our, future,”? Professor Ignatov wrote. “Thanks to their talent, enthusiasm and creative potential, ORT students are an engine for the development of education and art in Bulgaria.”?
The school, whose success is a product of cooperation between World ORT and The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, already has an advanced science and technology curriculum and in-depth training in various technological fields. It has 750 Jewish and non-Jewish students in grades 1-12. While Jewish children have the automatic right to attend the school, competition among non-Jews for the remaining places is intense, with as many as six children trying for each place. The public and professional interest generated by the multimedia centre can be expected to increase the school’s attractiveness.
“The multimedia centre is part of the cultural education at the school,”? said Dr Kalo. “Out of all our students we expect only a few to become photographers or cameramen. But we want all children to have the opportunity to look at the world and use cameras and other media equipment to reproduce what they see. It’s about giving children more tools to explore and understand the world and to develop their artistic and expressive abilities.”?
World ORT’s Chief Programme Officer, Vladimir Dribinskiy, was at last week’s opening. The new facility follows ORT’s establishment of similarly high quality centres in Mexico, Argentina and Russia, he said.
“I strongly believe that the opening of the new centre in Sofia will encourage the exchange of know-how between ORT national organisations in this important field,”? Mr Dribinskiy said.
He added that he was particularly proud of ORT Bulgaria and the school for their achievement in enlisting the voluntary involvement of some of the country’s top photographers and other media professionals in educational and consultancy roles.
And following newspaper reports of the opening, a professor of media studies has volunteered his services, too.
In 2003, the Lauder-ORT Science and Technology Centre opened at the school, which enabled it to attain the status of a high school. And in addition to investing in the new multimedia centre, World ORT is committed to maintaining and upgrading the school’s existing ICT and technological facilities and equipment; improve and update the school’s curricula, teacher guides and student resources; provide salaries for ORT staff and additional remuneration for key teachers; and provide Continuing Professional Development (CPD) teacher training programmes for teachers and tutors.
World ORT Director General and CEO Robert Singer said the new media centre was just the latest step towards World ORT’s goal of ensuring that students at Lauder-ORT Dimcho Debeljanov Jewish School would have the skills necessary to succeed.
“The ability to think critically, to solve problems, to gather information, communicate, and collaborate using 21st century tools are now prerequisites for participating in today’s workforce and global society,”? Mr Singer said. “ORT recognises that preparing schools, teachers, and students to meet this demand requires new sets of tools, assessments and strategies for teaching and learning.”?