Ort Aided 36,000 Persons Last Year; Spent $7,650,000, Report Shows
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Ort Aided 36,000 Persons Last Year; Spent $7,650,000, Report Shows

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More than 36,000 persons overseas last year received educational and economic aid through ORT, the Organization for Rehabilitation through Training, according to a report on 1961 activities made public here today. ORT programs were conducted in 19 countries, chiefly in Israel, North Africa, Iran, Poland and Western Europe.

During 1961, the report states, there were 596 trade schools, emergency courses for refugees, apprenticeship projects and other trade instructional facilities in the international ORT network, making it the largest non-governmental system of technical education in the world. Some 10,000 students completed training in ORT courses last year. “Reports from countries of operation indicate prompt employment for practically all of them,” the report emphasizes.

The influx of tens of thousands of Algerian and Tunisian Jewish immigrants to France has “overwhelmed existing community services,” the report says. As a result, a new ORT trade school opened at the end of last year in Marseilles, is already “swamped by applicants, necessitating additions before the new school year begins this fall.”

The report notes, as a new element, substantially increased ORT technical assistance activities on behalf of developing nations in Africa and Asia. A survey of vocational education requirements in eight African countries was conducted by ORT last year, at the request of the U.S. Agency for International Development. The U.S. Government has just contracted with ORT to establish the first comprehensive technical school in Conakry, Guinea. A similar project is under discussion for Bamako, Mali.


In conjunction with the Swiss Government, ORT is providing advanced instruction at the Central ORT Institute in Switzerland to managerial personnel from Israel. The same institute has organized courses for training of Congolese vocational school instructors and technicians, also in agreement with the Swiss Government.

An international institute has been established at the ORT school in Nathanya, Israel, for young people from Africa, at the request of the Israeli Government. “The concept of ORT, which grew out of the Jewish experience, has assumed a particular relevance to peoples in new nations, as the inculcation of skills is increasingly recognized to be one of the cornerstones for the renovation of these new societies on a modern basis,” the report states.

The network of ORT trade schools in 23 localities of Israel is by far the largest single program in the international ORT system. These schools enrolled 13,566 students last year. The 1962 projection anticipates over 15,000.

Despite such development, the report warns that the industrial revolution now in progress in Israel will be seriously hampered by a shortage of skilled people in the years ahead unless far greater strides are made in vocational education. The inauguration of a large-scale program of apprenticeship, in conjunction with the Ministry of Labor, is expected to ease this situation to some extent. Apprenticeship centers in Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem will eventually enroll 10,000-15,000 young people, many of them of recent immigrant origin.

The cost of all ORT activities in 1961 was $7,650,760. The Joint Distribution Committee allocated $1,848,000 last year, or about 27 per cent, out of United Jewish Appeal funds. Women’s American ORT is credited with the second largest contribution of $873,490, out of its membership dues. The report takes pride in the proportion of school cost that is met within the communities served, noting that in France fully three-fourths of the budget, in Italy two-thirds and in Israel more than half are covered within the country.

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