ORT Uruguay's Astonishing Success
Extraordinary Developments Prepare Students for Results
ORT Uruguay, first established in the early 1940s to provide training for Jews who had escaped from the Nazis, has developed into the country's largest private university and is consistently counted among the world’s top 500 tertiary institutions.
“Students are attracted by the quality of the education as well as the cultural environment,” said Alan E. Klugman, National Executive Director of ORT America, who has visited the campus. “ORT University pulses with energy, initiative and innovative learning.”
ORT University has more than 1,000 teachers and researchers for 11,000 students, 4,000 of whom benefit from ORT scholarships each year, and its five schools and institutes offer 36 degrees in the sciences, architecture, engineering, business, economics, international relations, design, communications and education.
The number of PhDs on faculty has increased by at least 20 percent over the past four years, and it now has some 10,000 Jewish and non-Jewish students, an increase of 15 percent since 2008. A United Nations study shows that half of all the computer-related workers in Uruguay were trained by ORT.
The university launched the first business incubator in Uruguay oriented to foster emerging entrepreneurs and enterprises in the fields of telecommunications and computer science, and it leads the way in the study of biotechnology. The biotechnology department currently has four on-going funded research projects, three of them undertaken in collaboration with leading biotech companies, and has built close links with world-class scientists.
An integral part of the Uruguayan Jewish education system, the university provides technical and pedagogical support to all with teacher training and IT program development and certification. Social and education programs have also been developed for the poorest segments of Uruguayan society living on the outskirts of Montevideo and other cities.
It also has cooperation agreements with institutions around the world, including major universities in China, California, and Barcelona. Forty-five students from China’s Harbin Normal University are nearing the end of a two-year stint learning Spanish at ORT, the result of Uruguay’s first international student exchange program.
Exciting work is also being done by students at the digital animation department, the only one of its kind in South America. The department benefits from a collaboration agreement ORT Uruguay reached with the prestigious California Institute of the Arts in 2009.
Digital animation is key to an ever increasing number of economically significant applications – from movies to advertising, video games and on-line games, mobile telephones and digital television. “The main stumbling block to the development of Latin America’s incipient digital animation industry is the lack of suitably qualified professionals. So this is our contribution to a whole new industry: we’re helping to train a whole new workforce and this is what ORT has been all about since its founding in 1880,” said ORT Uruguay University Rector Dr Jorge Grunberg.