Nesher students see physics in action via World ORT’s Mada-Na mobile science exhibition; photo World ORT

President Shimon Peres and Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar have announced that the Nesher Comprehensive High School, near Haifa, and the Levinson High School in Kiryat Yam have won the prestigious National Education Award. Both schools are supported by World ORT.

Nearly 80 schools entered the year-long award process, which involved close scrutiny of all aspects of the educational and social life of each institution.

A Ministry of Education spokesman said the prize winners were characterized by their extraordinary efforts to minimize gaps and prevent students from dropping out; by their support for underachievers, giving them the confidence to reach their goals; by their activities for students with special needs; and for the way they instill the importance of community involvement.

Levinson is a small, delapidated school, a third of whose 250 Orthodox students belong to impoverished Ethiopian families. The school’s graduation figures have risen from 29 per cent to 82 per cent and it is now the subject of a World ORT renovation program which will include a new science and technology wing and library.

The prize was awarded to Nesher not only for its academic achievements – it consistently achieves a matriculation rate of more than 80 per cent – but also for its near-100 per cent enlistment of graduates in the IDF, most of them in combat units.