Israel has a large concentration of high tech industries and a significant need for engineers to support its business infrastructure. Israel’s technology sector is a major driving force for the economy and
one that provides excellent employment opportunities for those students
finishing school with certain skills. With Israel’s worldwide ranking in education slowly declining, World ORT began looking at new ways to approach education in Israel and prepare a workforce better able to meet the country’s high tech needs.
By early 2007, World ORT had formulated a robust, ambitious strategy and in partnership and full coordination with the Ministry of Education launched Kadima Mada — Science Journey. The multi-phase, multi-million dollar project is revolutionizing science and technology education in over 30 communities and municipalities across Israel. These communities are mostly located on the periphery of the country — in the north and south including schools on the border of Gaza. They are typically characterized by having high levels of unemployment, high levels of new immigrants, and high student dropout rates.
Phase 1: Laboratories and Teacher Training: New state-of-the-art science & technology laboratories were installed in participating high schools. Selected in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, each school received a tailor-made package including lab equipment , teacher training, maintenance and upgrades.
Phase 2: Social Needs. Over $400,000-worth of vouchers were distributed to 15 campuses across Israel where they were given to students from poor families. Vouchers were redeemed for textbooks, sports kit, school supplies or uniforms.
Phase 3: Teacher Resource Centers. World ORT Teaching Empowerment Centers (WOTECs) created at 28 campuses. These centers are specially designed, high-tech staffrooms featuring all the equipment teachers need to prepare their lessons efficiently.
Phase 4: Intelligent Laboratories. Cutting edge ‘intelligent laboratories’ using the Nova system of data loggers and sensors which record, collate and present data from science experiments were installed in eight junior high schools.
Phase 5: Smart Classes Introduced. Smart classes’ introduced in six schools, each featuring interactive whiteboards (IWBs) and laptop computers. Previously, IWBs were in few Israeli schools and only in a single classroom. World ORT is now working with the government to establish 1,000 of these interactive classrooms across Israel and this project is considered a revolution within Israel’s education system.
Phase 6: Innovation Leaders. At each campus, there is one teacher whose role is to ensure the most effective possible implementation of new technology and to explore new pedagogic methods of exploiting such equipment. Phase 7: Social Needs Expansion. Continuing the program started in Phase 2, vouchers went to students at a further sixteen campuses across Israel.
Phase 8: Smart Classrooms Expansion A further 60 classrooms in 10 receive smart classrooms incorporating interactive whiteboards.
Mobile Science Museum that travels between host towns in Israel to entice
children to study science.
Kav Or Partnership to administer distance learning portals and other services for hospitalized children. This partnership that means Kadima Mada reaches over a 100,000 more beneficiaries a year.
A look at ORT's Science Journery program, which provides computers and
specialized scientific equipment to schools in need in Israel. (12:24)
World ORT Smart Classes project, part of
the Science Journey program in Israel aired on the news of Channel 2,
Israeli Television in Oct 2008.(2:37)
Shown at the 2008 World ORT GA, this video
provides a great overview of ORT's Science Journey program in Israeli
SUPPORT KADIMA MADA AND OTHER WORLD ORT PROGRAMS IN ISRAEL
Etai Wolkowitz, a student studying at a high school
near Gaza states, “This is such a great improvement over what we had
before. I now spend a lot of time studying here in the best
conditions. I am very happy that ORT is here with us. Thank you!”
Shimon Cohen, Head of the Hof Regional Council states,
“These are difficult times in our region and today’s situation creates a
lot of pressure on our population. We are faced with high
unemployment, a low socio-economic base, families living in temporary
housing after leaving Gaza during the disengagement, and exposure to the
firing of Qassam rockets. Schools have become helpless. We work with
security to fortify the classrooms. Parents have become frightened to
send their children to school. We are constantly looking for ways to
improve our education system. We are thrilled to hear about the new ORT
lab that this program provided our students for their future, as we
believe in them. We salute World ORT for their imagination in
supporting the kibbutz and communities around the Gaza.”
“Technology and Science are the basic foundations of education within
the Israeli high school system,” said Doreen Hermelin, past National President of ORT America. “It provides students the
essential tools needed for today’s fast paced environment, eliminating
the socio-economic gaps and strengthening the weaker populations.”
“To have a new friend and partner like World ORT with the wonderful
possibilities that are provided is invaluable to the children of
Israel,” states Alon Shuster, head of the Sha’ar
Hanegev Regional Council.