World ORT goes green


November 8, 2007 World ORT goes green Ecological challenges faced by humanity may one day be overcome by graduates of the ORT education network. Thats the hope of World ORT, whose Hatter Technology Seminar this year focuses on how to teach green and environmental technologies. This month, 17 ORT educators from Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Israel, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, South Africa and Mexico will gather in London for the week-long seminar. Through a combination of lectures by expert speakers, participants presentations and field trips, the World ORT Hatter Technology Seminar will bring teachers up to date with environmental issues and developments in renewable energy sources and other green technologies. The Head of World ORTs Education and Technology Department, Dr Vlad Lerner, said: This is a new approach and at this initial stage we want to explain the importance of these matters to the teachers and to give them some practical skills in teaching this subject. But we also want feedback from the teachers to see how to progress, for example in the development of curricula. One has to remember that our teachers are constrained by the curricula and standards of the countries in which they operate. The challenge, therefore, is to coordinate the new subject with each countrys educational authorities and to convince them of its importance. The World ORT Hatter Technology Seminar will shed light on the search for alternatives to fossil fuels such as solar energy research at the Weizmann Institute (pictured). It is hoped that the seminar will also initiate a gradual greening of ORT institutions around the world. Dr Yakov Ronkin, World ORTs Research and Development Coordinator, said: We want to see action so we are strengthening the educational process by providing an example we plan to reduce our schools environmental impact by implementing recycling and other programmes including the use of solar and wind power where practical. Dr Lerner added: We believe that environmental issues such as pollution and the need for alternatives to fossil fuels will soon become critically important. Throughout ORTs history we have provided education according to the needs of the time. Now, green technologies could be the new trend in science and technology education. Who knows, perhaps by incorporating environmental technologies into the mainstream of World ORTs educational preferences a future ORT graduate could be instrumental in developing a solution to any one of the serious ecological problems facing humanity. The World ORT Hatter Technology Seminar will also feature tours of the Science Museum and St James Catholic School, a specialist sports and science college in north west London. World ORT President Sir Maurice Hatter, who funds the seminar, said: It is quite clear that this subject will impact the lives of all people in the 21st century. As such, it is a natural subject for us to explore and I am certain that the seminar will provide a constructive forum in which to survey the possibilities offered by this exciting field. World ORT is the worlds largest Jewish education and vocational training non-government organisation and has benefited more than 3 million people Jewish and non-Jewish in 100 countries since its foundation in 1880. Before joining ORT, Dr Lerner was involved in solar energy research at the Weizmann Institute in Israel and will present an overview of such research during the seminar. Other speakers include Dr Justin Dillon, a Senior Lecturer in Science and Environmental Education and Head of the Science and Technology Education Group at Kings College, London; Rachel Close, Educational Programme Coordinator with the Severn Wye Energy Authority; James Pitt, Course Director of a new MA in Education with Education for sustainable development (ESD) at the University of York; and Dr Ed Marshall, lecturer in catalysis and advanced materials at Imperial College London.