British Council program funds English programs in struggling schools

British Ambassador Tom Philips hosted a gala launch at his Ramat Gan residence on Tuesday in honor of the Learning Center Partnership, an English language program of the British Council that was created in partnership with the Education Ministry, Hebrew University and funded by the Clore Foundation. "Today's ceremony highlights a very distinguished project and shows that equality has played a key part in the success story, that is Israel and that education has played a central role in the nation's development," Philips said of the event. The Partnership will work with over 5,000 secondary school students, aged between 16 and 18 in 10 marginalized communities across Israel. Through providing much needed resources to aid the teaching process it is hoped that they will be able to raise English language skills and Bagrut examination results. The ceremony highlighted a competition run by the foundation in which 10 schools won a combined $2 million for cutting-edge English language centers and teacher training in an effort to improve their Bagrut examination results. Schools that were able to participate in the competition were those in which a majority of students are not put forward to do the Bagrut English examination at the optimal five points level. The 10 winning schools included Amal 1 School in Safed, Kfar Hanoar Hadati in Kfar Hassidim and Rabin Municipal Experimental Community High School in Kiryat Yam. Peta Sarembock, director of studies at the British Council stressed that "the state of the art facility offers a far more holistic approach" to learning than were available to the schools through traditional methods. Prof. Chaim Adler, who was highly involved in the project, spoke at the ceremony where he stressed the importance of the English language. "The English language is of the utmost importance in today's technological world. One of the most remarkable things about Israeli society is that we revived our Hebrew language, making it into a living language, but if we want to be part of the globalized world, we need to speak English," Adler said. Dame Vivien Duffield, daughter of Sir Charles Clore and chairwoman of the Clore-Israel Foundation, spoke briefly at the ceremony and paid tribute to her father's legacy "By keeping his vision alive, Jewish [people] and Arab [people] alike will gain from contributions of the foundation at all ages and stages" Duffield said. Dr Ibrahim Al Amour, spokesman for the winning schools, highlighted that the foundation, along with its partners, have "given the light that lights up these children's lives."