Por Charlotte de Grünberg Director ORT General Uruguay. ORT Uruguay

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2 Por Charlotte de Grünberg By Charlotte de Director Grünberg General Director ORT General Uruguay ORT Uruguay The granting by the Ministry of Education of full university status to ORT Uruguay came after many years of development and consolidation of the institution. In order to understand the current ORT Uruguay activities, it may help to follow the historical development of ORT in the country. ORT Uruguay is a member of World ORT whose history can be traced back to St Petersburg in Russia where it was founded in Few organisations can praise themselves of such an active, significant and continuous existence for more than 133 years. Much has changed since then, yet the spirit remains. ORT Uruguay still offers quality education and training adapted to the local needs. ORT Uruguay is in the forefront of methodological innovation both for learning and for teaching as well as in its use of new technologies. At the same time ORT Uruguay is specially sensitive to the disadvantaged and impoverished communities offering them education and training adapted to their specific needs. ORT Uruguay was founded in 1942 in Montevideo, by members of the Uruguayan Jewish community that wanted to help the waves of immigrants fleeing from Europe, by teaching them a trade in order to allow their insertion in the Uruguayan economy. The activities started on rented premises. During the fifties, sixties and seventies, ORT Uruguay strengthened and expanded its educational project to the whole society while at the same time specialising in more advanced technological areas and providing vocational training to the technicians and professionals that the country needed. In the eighties ORT Uruguay grew fast to become a key institution in the country regarding training in Electronics, Telecommunications and Computer Science. Both the number of students and ORT s development in terms of facilities and technology resources showed continuous growth in this period. In 1989, ORT turned into the largest non-governmental organisation for technical education in Uruguay (Educational Statistics Yearbook, Ministry of Education and Culture of Uruguay, 1990). ORT Uruguay University 2

3 In the seventies three Jewish K-9 day-schools existed which were in the process of becoming a full K-12 network (from Kindergarden to matriculation). In order not to compete but rather to complete the Jewish educational system in the country, a decision was made in the early eighties to focus ORT Uruguay activities in supporting the existing Jewish schools and teaching technical and higher education courses. Façade of the School of Engineering and the Institute of Education Façade of the School of Design 3

4 In 1985, ORT Uruguay requested the tertiary level recognition of its System Analysis and Electronics degrees to the Ministry of Education and Culture. Official recognition of the System Analysis degree was the first one, ever, to be granted to a non-governmental educational institution in the country. These areas of study eventually became part of the Bernard Wand-Polak School of Engineering in Bernard Wand-Polak was World ORT Director for Latin America between 1967 and In the sixties and seventies, he was well known for his vision on the importance that Information Technology and Electronics would have for countries development. Under his leadership ORT computer centres were established in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay. In the eighties, ORT Uruguay started to expand and diversify its educational programmes according to the needs of the Uruguayan economy and society. In 1988 the Management School was founded. It was the first management school established in the country and was lately transformed into the School of Administration and Social Sciences. Since 1996, this School has been ranked among the thirty best business schools in Latin America by América Economía magazine and it has been leader in the modernisation of the education in management in our country. Façade of the School of Architecture Façade of the School of Administration and Social Sciences ORT Uruguay University 4

5 In 1995, the Uruguayan government enacted the first legal framework for private universities in the country. In February 1996 ORT was the first Uruguayan institution to request the legal authorisation to function as a private university. This authorisation was granted in September In this way, ORT Uruguay was the first institution recognized as a private university within the new legal framework and became Universidad ORT Uruguay (ORT Uruguay University). In 1995, ORT Uruguay started the first university degree in Design in Uruguay. In 1996 ORT Uruguay started teaching in the field of communications studies: Journalism, Audio-visual Production, Advertising, Sound Engineering and Digital Animation. All these degrees are taught at the School of Communications and Design. Façade of the School of Communication 5

6 After obtaining official recognition, two new academic departments were created: the Institute of Education in 1998 and the School of Architecture in The Department of Jewish Studies was restructured in 2003, consolidating many years of activities in this field. ORT Uruguay University has been developing research and development activities in the field of education for over 20 years so far. In this framework experimental projects in the fields of Educational Computing were recognised locally and internationally receiving among others the Computer Science National Award in 1980 and the Regional Centre for the Teaching of Computer Science Silver Award from Spain in In 1996 ORT Uruguay established a programme of academic co-operation with the Harvard Graduate School of Education and started offering postgraduate programmes in the field of education. In 1998, these programmes became part of the Institute of Education. In 1999, Audiovisual production the School of Architecture was launched to offer undergraduate programmes in Architecture as well as postgraduate courses and technical degrees in the fields of Architecture, Building and Construction and Interior Design. ORT Uruguay University is the only private university that offers an officially recognized degree in Architecture. Before its official recognition as a University, ORT Uruguay was already perceived as such by the uruguayan society due to its resources, dimensions, teachers, graduates and study programmes. ORT Uruguay University 6

7 ORT Uruguay University is currently the largest non-governmental University in the country (2010 Ministry of Education Yearly). Five specialized schools and an Institute of Education, 36 undergraduate and graduate degrees in Architecture, Engineering, Business, Economics, International Relations, Design, Communications and Education are taught. ORT Uruguay University is a member of the International Association of Universities and the Unión de Universidades de America Latina and has academic agreements with over 100 universities in Latin America, North America, Europe, China, South Corea and Israel. The academic staff consists of around 1000 teachers and researchers, many of them with full time appointments and postgraduate training, including more than 100 PhDs and doctoral candidates. 7

8 ORT Uruguay University carries out applied research in all its schools in close contact with enterprises and research centres. An extensive network of international agreements facilitates the exchange of teachers and students and allows for joint research. A formal student exchange unit was established in 2004 based on bylateral agreements. More than 100 foreign students attend ORT courses each year. Students and teachers have access to two specialized libraries with over books and periodical publications. E-books, thesis and articles in a large variety of areas are available through the main world bibliographic data bases. Reading halls and team work spaces equipped with wi-fi are also available. Libraries ORT Uruguay University 8

9 The technological infrastructure of academic support includes more than 1200 last generation computers connected to high speed networks as well as Electronics, Telecommunications and Photography labs and Radio and TV studios for professional production, state of the art, biotechnology laboratories and designed technological centers. Biotechnology Lab Students and graduates are given support in their job search and business creation. Thousands of graduates are successful in their professional fields and many of them work in enterprises created by themselves. In co-operation with the Technological Laboratory of Uruguay (LATU) and the support of the International Development Bank (IDB), ORT Uruguay University launched the first business incubator in Uruguay oriented to foster emerging entrepreneurs and enterprises in the fields of Telecommunications and Computer Science. 9

10 A variety of sports activities take place around the year which include basketball, football, futsal, handball, hockey, swimming, tennis and volleyball. In 2010 the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship was established to foster entrepreneurial attitudes and eventual further launching of innovative high tech business ventures by students and graduates. Historically committed to offering quality education and guided by the principle of equal opportunity, ORT Uruguay University sponsors a scholarship programme which benefits more than students per year. This allows for an inclusive and heterogeneous composition of the student body where young people from different social backgrounds and regions interact and study together. ORT Uruguay University has been ranked among the world s top 500 universities by the Annual QS World University Rankings since In an ever changing world where professions evolve quickly, some trades disappear and new ones are born everyday, now as well as before, ORT seeks to give its students the best education and invests all its resources to achieve that goal. Many people have contributed to the success of ORT Uruguay University, volunteer workers and professionals have devoted time, resources and their commitment to make ORT the great organisation we know today. It is a remarkable history, full of life that constitutes both a good omen and a challenge for the future. World ORT National Director's Forum held in Universidad ORT Uruguay, 2007 ORT Uruguay University 10

11 Graduation ceremony at the Solis Opera House 11

12 ORT Uruguay University 12

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