World ORT and ORT Russia have been given the task of designing a massive new school to serve the population of the Skolkovo Innovation Center – Russia’s answer to Silicon Valley.
After beating a field of 200 domestic and international competitors for the multi-million-dollar tender, ORT has initiated a consortium of companies and organizations which were similarly shortlisted by the Skolkovo Foundation, the agency responsible for the Innovation Center. The idea is to create a “smart school”, similar to the concept which World ORT is developing in Israel where two client schools have been earmarked for the necessary radical overhaul to enable them to use technology to create an individualised and collaborative learning environment with more opportunities for cross-curricular integration and improved content development and delivery.
The school which ORT is helping to develop will form an integral part of the Skolkovo innovation city.
World ORT Chief Program Officer Vladimir Dribinskiy said ORT’s selection was the icing on the cake of the 20th anniversary since its return to Russia, the country where it was founded in 1880 and from which it was expelled during the Stalinist era.
Currently, that community is little more than a village. However, the Government reportedly expects 40,000 people to live and work in what it wants to be an ultra-modern “Innovation City” built on 900 acres 20km west of Moscow – an ecosystem to encourage scientific and technology-based companies.
Since the Government launched the Skolkovo Innovation Center project in 2009, more than 200 companies have been attracted to the idea of setting up a presence there – including research and development centers currently under construction for IBM, Siemens, Ericsson and Nokia – to develop new space and telecom products, innovative medical equipment, biotech, clean and efficient energy products, nuclear technologies and information technology. Skolkovo itself is intended to become a “city laboratory” where locally-developed innovations will be introduced and approved.
The planned school complex, with 2,000 students aged between six and 18, will be an integral component of the overall development of the high-tech hub at Skolkovo, with many of its alumni going on to study at the planned Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology. The Institute, believed to be the first such institute in the world to integrate comprehensively education, research, innovation and entrepreneurship.