ORT India, based in Mumbai, provides ICT and other training for the community, with both residential and day school courses. It has been engaged in the provision of education and vocational training to India’s Bnei Menashe community since the early 1990s. ORT India runs a number of courses and projects, which are outlined below.
Podar-ORT International School
Situated in Worli, Podar – ORT International School, a Candidate school for the IB Primary Years Programme, sets out to be the new benchmark for schooling in South Mumbai.
Being a part of one of India’s leading and largest Education groups – Podar Education Network, the school brings together diverse people, cultures and ideas to transform the traditional notion of education. Emphasis is on making Learning a fun and natural process
The school building of Podar- ORT International School has been specially designed to give it a contemporary, stylish and international look. The classrooms are well ventilated with all the academic resources required to provide an ideal sanctum for academic progress to take place. Each classroom is equipped with the latest international technology such as interactive whiteboards, projectors, visualizers etc.
Podar - ORT International School - a candidate IB school will initially be offering (International Baccalaureate Primary Year Programme( IBPYP) and subsequently (International Baccalaureate Medium Year Programme (IBMYP) and International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP)
The Podar-ORT International School is expected to open its doors in April 2016.
Courses and projects
ICT & Computer Training
ORT India established a computer center in 1987. The center offers courses in basic computer literacy, Microsoft Office, desktop publishing, animation, print media (Corel Draw, Photoshop, Illustrator, Quarkxpress), web design & multimedia (Dreamweaver, Flash, HTML) and video editing (Adobe Premier, Soundforge, After Effects). Training comprises of classroom exercises, quizzes and home assignments, in addition to continuous evaluation and feedback during the training.
ORT India has also provided the Bnei Menashe Jewish Community in Manipur with computer training since the early 1990s - first at the ORT India educational center in Mumbai, and then in Manipur since 2003. The following courses are offered at the Manipur Computer Center:
- Basic Computer Literacy
- Office Automation
- Advanced Computer Applications
- Desktop Publishing
This programme benefits between 50 and 60 members of India’s Bnei Menashe Jewish Community annually by giving them the tools to become citizens who will make a positive contribution to their society, whether they choose to remain in India or to move to Israel.
Computer Education in the Andaman Islands
ORT India has created an educational revolution on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands affected by the tsunami in the Bay of Bengal. It installed computers, presentation equipment and inaugurated IT laboratories in twelve high schools, with accompanying advanced multimedia technology. This has had significant impact on the pupil's critical thinking and scientific inquiry.
As a direct result of this program, three schools have added computer science studies to their 10th – 12th grade curriculum which has resulted in better academic performance. The success of the laboratories has generated widespread appeal from the Directorate of Education and other schools and has become a model for the future education of the Islands.
ORT India's Jewish Educational and Resource Centre provides resources and guidance on Jewish educational matters to students, researchers, film makers, members of the press, tourists and to local community members.
Throughout the year, many members of the Jewish community require special training in various areas like Bar/Bat Mitzva training, learning to pray and leading prayer services. ORT India arranges classes to cater for these needs, sometimes in conjunction with local synagogues.
As part of ORT India's efforts to reach out to people who are unable to attend Jewish educational classes in person, classes and discussions are also offered over Skype.
Approximately thirty Jewish young people go away each year to an adventure campsite for several days, and are engaged in Jewish learning through lectures, debates, music and other activities. The objective of this programme is to promote Jewish learning and Jewish community growth.
Each year a communal Passover seder is conducted at ORT India for the community. The seder attracts approximately 80 people.
At its Mumbai headquarters, ORT India maintains a kosher kitchen, a kosher bakery, and a suply of kosher wine and chickens, to assist the community in keeping kosher (observing the Jewish dietary laws).
A Jewish scribe is employed by ORT India to provide a free service to the community. Services on offer include Torah scroll repairs and Tefillin & Mezuzah scroll checks. The scribe is also a qualified social worker, and so is able to offer advice and counselling to members of the community when needed.
In partnership with ORT India, Taglit-Birthright offers a free educational 10-day trip to Israel for Jews between the ages of 18 and 26, who have never visited the country before. To date, approximately 350 young Jewish people from India have participated on such a trip.