Shelley B. Fagel, National President of ORT America, announced that ORT has installed a state-of-the-art multimedia center at the Lauder-ORT Dimcho Debeljanov Jewish School in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, making it the only school in the country to have such a facility.
“The multimedia center is part of the school’s cultural education curriculum and the latest step to provide students with the skills necessary to succeed,” said Mrs. Fagel. “It also provides them with additional tools to explore and understand the world and to develop their artistic and expressive abilities.”
“What a great achievement. Even schools dedicated to media training don’t have anything as advanced,” added Alan E, Klugman, National Executive Director of ORT America. “All of this is thanks to ORT’s donors’ support.”
In addition to the multimedia center, ORT has also provided the school with 11 ‘smart classrooms’, a computer laboratory, technology laboratory and a resource center. The new facility has a photographic studio with the most up-to-date digital technology; an audio and radio studio which will enable students to create radio programs and teachers to create Hebrew and English language and audio courses for use in the classroom; and a television and video studio which will allow students and teachers to take part in videoconferencing and distance-learning sessions for the first time.
The Lauder-ORT Dimcho Debeljanov Jewish School, which boasts an advanced science and technology program and in-depth training in various technological fields, has 750 Jewish and non-Jewish students, in grades 1-12. While Jewish children have the automatic right to attend the school, competition among non-Jews for the remaining places is intense, with as many as six children applying for every available slot. The public and professional interest generated by the multimedia center is expected to increase the school’s enrollment.
The center’s recent opening attracted more than 100 people, including the Mayor of Sofia, journalists and principals from other schools. A letter from Bulgaria’s Education Minister, Professor Simeon Ignatov, was read at the ceremony, attributing ORT students as an engine for the development of education, and art, in Bulgaria.
ORT Bulgaria and the Lauder-ORT Dimcho Debeljanov Jewish School have enlisted voluntary involvement from some of the country’s top photographers and media professionals in educational and consultancy roles. This new facility follows ORT’s establishment of similarly high quality centers in Mexico, Argentina and Russia.