ORT SEED is set to make South Africa’s technology education bloom


02 November 2005 ORT has stepped up its contribution to the reconstruction of South Africa by refining and updating its innovative plan to bring science and technology education to under-resourced schools. The ORT-Tech Institute in Cape Town has developed ORT SEED, which provides teachers who have graduated with its officially recognised Advanced Certificate in Education with practical classroom support to help them implement their new found knowledge. None of the technology teachers in South Africa have been technology students in school, said ORT-Tech Director Alta Greeff. Our focus has been on providing in-service training for this new generation of educators. But we found that they were having difficulties passing on this new knowledge in the classroom. ORT SEED remedies this situation. So far, this on-site support has been extended to teachers in two township primary schools in the Cape Town area (with teachers from neighbouring schools also receiving associated beneficial training) with promising results. There are plans to expand the programme to schools in the provinces of Gauteng (formerly Transvaal) and Kwazulu-Natal next year as well as to Jewish schools in Cape Town and Johannesburg. The South African Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor, gave her seal of approval to the programme when she attended ORT SEEDs official launch at the Jewish Museum, Cape Town last week. The Education Minister of Western Cape province, Cameron Dugmore, also attended. We are very excited about initiatives from organisations like ORT that are helping us tackle the new field of technology in our schools, Ms Pandor said. We congratulate the more than 500 educators who have graduated in technology from your project Your initiative has the potential to contribute towards the improvement of the quality of teaching and learning in our schools. From left: ORT SA Chairman Darrel Krowitz, ORT SA National Director Michael Sieff, ORT SA Education Director Alta Greeff, Regional Services (Rural) Chief Director Sindi Shayi, ORT SA Immediate Past Chairman Dorienne Levitt, Western Cape Education Minister Cameron Dugmore, World ORT Director General Robert Singer, South Africas Minister of Education, Naledi Pando. At the function, ORT-Tech handed over its revised material for the training of technology teachers to ORT South Africa Chairman Darrel Krowitz, who funded the project. ORT-Tech Senior Manager Kevin Velensky explained that the material had to be updated when problems in the countrys new curriculum were ironed out. A cheque for 150,000 Rand (US$22,350) was presented to ORT-Tech by the FirstRand Foundation a charitable foundation created by the FirstRand group of companies, which includes the First National Bank, Rand Merchant Bank, Wesbank and insurance company Momentum. Given South Africas challenges with science and maths education, and our being in the financial services sector, initiatives that address this educational need have become a big focus for us, said the Foundations Grants Manager, Jan Hjorthen. Weve supported ORT projects before and have been very pleased with the results theyve achieved, so were happy to do so again. ORT South Africa National Director Michael Sieff said: The ORT SEED project, headed by Alta Greeff, will take ORT South Africa to the next level in terms of its active participation in the education of technology throughout the country. The teaching of technology is so badly needed and this is a gap in the countrys education which ORT is filling. ORT-Tech was established in 1993 as the ORT Science and Technology Education Programme. World ORT is the worlds largest Jewish education and vocational training non-government organisation with some 270,000 students Jewish and non-Jewish in 58 countries.