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Ort Proposes Plan for Universal High School Education in Israel

A five-year plan which would bring high school education to virtually all young people in Israel has been presented to the Israeli government by representatives of ORT. the worldwide Jewish vocational and educational training organization. The announcement was made to the 51st annual national conference of the American ORT Federation by the organization’s president, Dr. William Haber, who also described ORT’s aid to Arab students, both in Israel and its administered territories.

“At present,” Dr. Haber told some 750 delegates from all parts of the United States, meeting here this weekend, “one of every five youngsters fails to go beyond primary school. Some do not even complete the lower grades of primary school. About 40,000 of Israel’s young people are being lost in the educational shuffle each year. If the government of Israel accepts the new ORT proposals,” he declared, “a giant step will have been taken toward realizing a long-cherished dream of secondary education for all.”

The ORT plan. Dr. Haber noted, involves both the Israeli Ministry of Education and its Ministry of Labor. ORT has proposed a development program to the Minister of Education involving either the creation or expansion of some 44 vocational schools in various parts of the Jewish State. “A second five-year plan,” Dr. Haber added. “was presented to the Minister of Labor. Its major elements call for the establishment of seven additional ORT apprenticeship centers, ten factory schools, and three large-scale day and evening centers.”

EXPANSION OF PROGRAM FOR ARAB EDUCATION

“It must be emphasized,” the ORT president noted, “that there are still many obstacles to be overcome in the realization of this program. In view of the size of the funds which have to be obligated and the material and human resources required, a new commitment and a new priority by the people and government of Israel are involved. I am optimistic, however, because of the logic of the programs, a logic which is based on the realities of Israel’s future development perspectives. Equally important is the impact which these programs will have not only upon the young people of Israel, but upon their families.”

In 1972, Dr. Haber said, enrollment in ORT schools in Israel rose to about 50,000 students, an increase of 4000 over the previous year. More than 62 percent of the pupils in the organization’s technical and vocational high schools were born in Asian or African countries or come from families arriving from those countries.

Another program which “could have great impact not only in Israel, but beyond its borders,” Dr. Haber said, “is the expansion of ORT’s training programs to aid the Arab population, not only of the administered territories, but in Israel itself. Teachers in Arab vocational schools in the West Bank and Gaza have requested programs embodying advanced pedagogical concepts and practices in vocational education, with the hope of Infusing these into Arab education.” In Israel itself, the ORT president said, there are about 1900 pupils of the Arab and Druze minorities now studying in ORT schools.

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