An important aspect of the ORT educational network in Russia is its focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) instruction. With an economy driven by technological advances and the information technology sector in Russia rapidly accelerating its development, ORT programs and courses provide students with relevant skills and an edge for the competitive employment market.
A number of ORT schools and centers participate in the prestigious Cisco Network Academy™ program, which provides enhanced training in information and communications technology for students and teachers. Each year Cisco selects the top ten percent of instructors in its worldwide program (where there are 471 Cisco academies in Russia alone) and awards them the status of expert level instructor, in recognition of their highest level of expertise and quality of education they provide students, based on student feedback and performance.
This year instructors from sixteen Cisco academies in Russia received this award, and three instructors came from two ORT facilities: Ilya Spivak, system administrator of ORT in Russia and Certified Cisco Network Academy™ Instructor at Moscow ORT School; Arkadiy Gordon, system administrator and Certified Cisco Network Academy™ Instructor at Moscow ORT School; and Alexey Kuropatkin, Certified Cisco Network Academy™ Instructor at ORT Yekaterinburg career training center.
Mikhail Libkin, director of development, ORT Russia, explains the significance of Cisco in the ORT framework. “I’m very proud of my colleagues for receiving this prestigious award that attests to their professional level. But I’m even more proud of their students. ORT brings the best educational programs and practices to Jewish schools to make education attractive, interesting and modern. Together we prepare our students for the best future and build a foundation for sustainable Jewish communities.”
ORT Russia and Cisco signed an agreement in 2012 to expand cooperation in order to raise the level of information communications technology instruction in ORT schools, including training for instructors and enhancement of their skills in teaching information technology essentials, CCENT (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician) and CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) courses. The program began at the Moscow ORT Technology School and in other ORT institutions in Russia. Presently there are Cisco academies run in conjunction with ORT in Russia, where about 100 students benefit from the Cisco program, and in ORT locations in Kiev, South Africa and France, with another in the process of being established in Argentina.
Cisco award recipient Ilya Spivak reflects on the award. “I would like to express gratitude to my students. Every student is a universe with a perspective on the world. Their questions help develop my knowledge and propel them forward, and they help me see things from different views.”
Arkadiy Gordon, another award recipient, describes the significance of the digital environment in our society. “The knowledge as set out in this simple but useful Cisco course is important not only for ‘techies,’ but for everyone. The world around us is becoming digital, informational and networked. Everyone should understand the digital environment and the process, and not simply push the buttons of gadgets.” Arkadiy finds the Cisco curriculum gratifying to teach. “For six years I’ve been teaching the Cisco course Foundations of Information Technologies to our students. It’s both a pleasure and inspirational when I explain the beauty and wit of information technology solutions, involve the students, encourage them and develop their thoughts,” he shares. And being awarded the Cisco distinction is particularly fulfilling, he says, because “it’s quite pleasing when your work as a ‘progressor’ wins an award!”
Congratulations to these three educators for their outstanding achievements.