South Africa school affiliation agreement extended


World ORT’s Director General and CEO has said the extension of an agreement which affiliates a leading South African Jewish schools network to ORT is the logical next step in the “burgeoning” and mutually beneficial partnership.

An initial agreement signed with King David Schools in 2018 proved so successful – with King David teachers and students taking part in a series of World ORT education department seminars and events – that a long-term extension was completed and signed this week.

The affiliation will continue to provide opportunities for student exchanges, competitions and pedagogical consultancy, with the South African schools continuing their participation in ORT’s networking and program opportunities.

Speaking at ORT South Africa’s biennial general meeting on Tuesday, Dan Green, World ORT Director General and CEO, said: “I am absolutely delighted that we have formalized this special relationship and look forward to many fruitful years of partnership and cooperation mutually benefitting each other.”

Mr Green said among the most important benefits to schools affiliating with ORT was “the ability to network with colleagues or make friends with people from schools in countries around the world. Student exchanges, teacher exchanges, bar and bat mitzvah twinning programs in Israel and the diaspora, communicating in English or perhaps improving your Hebrew, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian… I could go on.

“With open arms we welcome you and know you will take advantage of everything we have to offer.”

He said ORT would “also learn a tremendous amount from the King David Schools, which rightly have a reputation as a beacon for outstanding Jewish and secular education”.

Ariellah Rosenberg, chief executive officer of ORT South Africa, said: “Covid-19 and lockdown implications worldwide have demonstrated the opportunities for disruption in education and schooling.

“It is the perfect time to formalise the affiliation of the South African Board of Jewish Education (SABJE) – which oversees the King David Schools – to World ORT.

“ORT is known for its cutting-edge technologies in education and its worldwide network of schools. I envisage collaboration and interventions that promote 21st Century skills, project-based learning that develops analytical and investigative skills, and most importantly the connection with people to enhance the social and EQ intelligence of our youth.”

Speaking ahead of the signing of the agreement, South Africa’s Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein paid tribute to ORT’s work in the country and worldwide. He said the organization was “meeting the challenge of Covid – giving people insight, training and knowledge to do great things, support themselves and contribute to society. That is true empowerment”.

Rabbi Craig Kacev, General Director of the SABJE, said the King David Schools had seen “immediate benefits” of the affiliation, including the access to ORT network programs, teacher development and student programs such as the opportunity to take part in the international Scholas program.

Rabbi Kacev said the move to a full affiliation “holds much potential for the future of our students and educators” and was “an honor – the Board will not take it for granted. Thank you to World ORT and ORT South Africa”.

The King David Schools were established in 1948 and are one of the world’s most well-respected Jewish schools.

They achieve top-level exam results and have a philosophy of nurturing school leavers to produce “a mensch with self-respect and respect for others”.

[Pictured: A King David student runs a dance class social action program as part of the World ORT Harmatz Award in 2020]