In 2006, in celebration of 40 years of activity in Israel, the Clore Foundation initiated a unique project focused on strengthening English language skills at the high-school level. The project targeted high schools in communities that come under the umbrella of the Shahar branch of the Ministry of Education, in which the majority of pupils were not taking English at the optimal five-points level.
Recognizing the obstacles that pupils in these communities often face in acquiring proficiency in English – which these days is a prerequisite for success in higher education and in many professional fields – the objective of the project was to improve English-language acquisition and achievements. This would hopefully maximize these pupils’ potential for success; both in the world of higher education and eventually in the job market, and provide them with a vehicle for social mobility.
The Clore Foundation is partnered in this enterprise by the NCJW Research Institute for Innovation in Education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the British Council, and the Shahar division of the Ministry of Education. The programme is overseen by a Steering Committee, chaired by Israel Prize winner Prof. Chaim Adler, and comprising representatives of all the project’s partners and other academics in the field of English-language acquisition.
All eligible schools were invited to apply for a prize comprising a cutting-edge English-Language Learning Centre and professional enrichment for the school’s English teaching staff, geared toward work in the English Language Centres. The ten winning schools represent all areas of the country and most sectors of the population:
These schools were honored at a ceremony held at the British Ambassador’s Residence in November 2006, during which the Ambassador and Dame Vivien Duffield, Chairman of the Clore Israel Foundation, addressed and met representatives of each of the schools.
Implementation of the project took place over four years. The English Language Learning Centres have been established in all the participating schools, and teachers have been intensively trained toward teaching in them. The centres are equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including computers, multi-media equipment and an interactive white board. Most English classes in the participating schools now take place in the centres, and pupils and teachers alike are very enthusiastic about the myriad and exciting possibilities for learning that they offer.