Ort Warns of Critical Educational Needs Among Israel’s Youth

A report made public today by the American ORT Federation estimates that between 40,000 and 50,000 youths of high school age in Israel are neither in school nor at work. These young people are “potentially Israel’s greatest social danger unless they are brought within the range of opportunity for education and training for work, ” the report declared.

The report warned that 12,000 Algerian Jewish refugees who fled to France in recent years face a serious “skills deficit” which is impeding their absorption into the economic life of the country, it noted that, whereas 70 percent of available jobs call for skills, surveys indicate that 70 percent of the refugees “brought no skills with them that are adaptable to employment in France. “

“During 1964 and for many years to come, the vocational training programs of ORT in France will be grappling with the problem of instructing thousands of these newcomers, fathers and sons alike, in the skills they must have to find work, support their families and rebuild their lives, ” the report declared. It announced that 40,129 persons received educational and economic assistance in 582 ORT training units during 1933. Since the end of the Second World War, ORT has taught trades to over 500,000 trainees.

With ORT programs conducted in 22 countries last year, the report noted that “this network comprises the largest non-governmental system of vocational education in the world. ” Major activities are centered in Israel, North Africa, Iran, Poland and Western Europe. A new training service for the Jews of Bombay was expanded. Exploratory surveys were conducted among the Falasha Jews of Ethiopia, and technical school scholarships were made available to young Jews in Greece.

ORT technical assistance projects in the West African countries of Guinea and Mali, conducted under contract of the U.S.Government, were expanded under terms of a new agreement that is scheduled to run until 1967. Another African training program located at the ORT Vocational Center at Nathanya, Israel, received students from 18 nations, the report stated.

Almost 10, 000 persons completed training in ORT schools last year, according to the report, which stated that practically without exception, “all found immediate employment. Often students are spoken for even before they completed their schooling. “

The rapid growth of vocational services in Israel was recorded in the report which noted that enrollment in these ORT schools has grown from 1,315 in 1949 to 18,903 in 1963. The report forecast a continuing upward spiral of Israel ORT training, with over 20,000 students expected to attend ORT vocational high schools, apprentice centers, adult courses, Yeshiva training plans and other services located in 31 Israeli cities and towns during 1964.

ORT services in 1963 cost $8,602,772, the report discloses $1,950,000 of this was received from the Joint Distribution Committee, out of United Jewish Appeal funds, and in part from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. Another $1,065,000 resulted from the membership activities of Women’s American ORT. The report notes that more than half of ORT funds is produced overseas, much of it in the countries of operation. A projection for 1964 anticipates a deficit of $114,500.

NEXT STORY