ORT Family Embraces Panama School With Affiliation Agreement
One of the top-five Panamanian schools links with ORT
The 13 year-old Isaac Rabin School, which is among the top five schools in Panama, has formally signed an agreement to become affiliated with World ORT – the first Jewish school in the country to do so.
"Over the past 75 years, ORT has built a reputation in much of Latin America as a leading provider of education and vocational training. It is heartening to see that the benefits we provide are now reaching more people in the continent," said Alan E. Klugman, National Executive Director of ORT America.
ORT Panama President Samuel Bern, who sits on the school’s board, said the school’s affiliation is part of its strategy to raise the profile of science, technology and math, a move which will allow students to take advantage of new opportunities opening up in the country’s booming economy. The Panamanian economy is enjoying 11 percent growth as the country nears the end of a seven-year, $5.3 billion expansion project for the Panama Canal and embarks on other major infrastructure programs.
Five years ago, with World ORT’s support, it opened a state-of-the-art science laboratory with computerized data loggers and other equipment. The laboratory follows the model of ORT Chile’s Coca Cola Foundation-funded TAVEC project, which has successfully deployed computers and microcomputer-based laboratory technology and on-site training to improve the quality of science education in both the country’s public and private schools. ORT Chile is now providing the Isaac Rabin School with teacher training and technical assistance.
“Since we’ve had the lab more and more students are choosing physics, math and technology. Services, commerce and business make up most of our economy and traditionally many children in the community join their father’s business; we tend to work in the professions, banking and business administration. But the lack of local technological know-how has meant that Panamanian businesses have had to bring in people from overseas,” Mr. Bern said.
The affiliation agreement means that Isaac Rabin School’s staff can now access World ORT’s international professional development seminars and programs and tap into the experience and expertise of peers in dozens of countries. Students are also eligible for international exchange programs and activities such as World ORT’s English summer school in London and iJET Challenge Jewish history project. World ORT also provides support and consultancy in the introduction of educational technology as well as guidance on raising standards, networking and twinning opportunities and other benefits.
World ORT’s representative in the region, Isidoro Gorodischer, added, “Immigration is helping the local Jewish community to grow and enrolment at the Isaac Rabin School is nearing the maximum capacity of 350. We look forward to supporting the school’s growth and helping it to realize its educational aspirations.”