Jewish Agency Sets Up Virtual Schools Network

By Haaretz

Published December 19, 2011.
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The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAI) is set to launch a international virtual school network later this week, in an attempt to bolster ties between Jewish students around the world and Israel.

At first, the prestigious project will be based out of the 200 existing school twinning pairs of formal and informal schools in Israel with “twin” institutions in the United States, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Western Europe, Russia, and Turkey.

Present school twinning ties operate as independent educational endeavors geared at establishing Jewish identity as part of the Partnership 2gether program, which is funded by the Jewish Agency.

However, the JAI intends to double that amount as soon as next year, and expand the project to other countries and Jewish communities who have yet to be exposed to the twinning initiative, whether over budget issues or technological obstacles, via an extensive network that would be installed for that purpose.

A unified selection of educational programs will be consolidated that will meet the educational standards the JAI will set.

According to the method currently in work, with the twinnings established in the last decade, the programs were adjusted to the Jewish-Israeli cultural milieu, with programs such as Shorashim (“Roots”), in which students and teachers instruct their peers abroad how to design a unified event ahead of seventh graders’ Bar Mitzvah ceremonies.

The programs, which were budgeted by the JAI as well as the several Israeli local councils, were incorporated as an integral part of the school day, with others delivered in the afterschool hours. They were approved by an administrative team formed by overseas community volunteers and their Israeli counterparts, who were occasionally aided by educational officials or private consulting firms, and were mandated to determine the curricula.

For more, go to Haaretz.com


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