The education system is short of funds due to the transition to online technology. Charitable assistance from Ruslan Goryukhin to the school «Or Menachem».
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused fundamental changes to the work of educational institutions, including in Russia. In mid-March, the Ministry of Education recommended that Russian schools switch to distance learning. Remote technologies have become the only way to continue the study of educational programs by students and schoolchildren without risk to their health. Teachers had to learn a new format of teaching urgently, and adaptation did not always go smoothly.
Jewish schools have successfully switched to online education. In a short time, technical solutions for remote teaching were introduced at the school «Or Menachem», where students had already begun classes after Pesach. It was possible to resume lessons without losing time thanks to the support of investor and philanthropist Ruslan Goryukhin, a regular participant in charitable projects of the Jewish community.
Problems of distance education
The transition to distance learning was associated with several difficulties. Teachers had to learn new platforms and fill the gaps in computer technology knowledge—curricula and programs required global processing and adaptation for the remote format. The most significant burden was placed on the IT specialists of the educational institution. Ruslan Goryukhin, being the school trustee, took to address the issue of lack of equipment by purchasing the necessary hardware. It needed repair and adjustment in a short time.
The online course “Pesach from A to Z”, consisting of five interactive lessons, was adapted first of all. The laws of the holiday and the rules for holding the seder (Passover dinner established in a certain order with a story about the exodus from Egypt) were explained to the students. The course was designed to compensate for the absence of face-to-face lessons that rabbis usually give, not only for children but also for adults. This helped support Jewish families who had to spend the holiday in enforced isolation and give them a sense of community unity.
Comprehensive work on the transition to distance learning has not yet been completed, but the main thing has already been done. Training materials are adapted for online demonstrations, programs are revised to meet changing requirements, and teachers are prepared for remote teaching. Children and teachers who did not have the necessary equipment are now provided with computers and tablets. Ruslan Goryukhin made sure that the purchased equipment was modern enough and convenient to use.
It was possible to prepare for distance learning in a matter of days. The children’s vacation was not prolonged; the schoolchildren began classes immediately after the Passover. At the same time, there was work on transferring educational and youth projects to online platforms.
“We are pleased that in an extremely short time, without wasting time, we were able to transfer all our educational institutions and projects to online teaching,” said Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar.
Work with educational complexes
Employees of the educational institution highly appreciate the experience gained. Most of the teaching staff have never worked remotely, but the teachers successfully adapted to the teaching material. The processing of training complexes is well underway and will soon be completed.
One of the most challenging courses to adapt is the curriculum «Darkeinu». It combines a whole range of Jewish disciplines: the history of the Jewish people, ethics, traditions, TaNaKh. The program is designed for stage-by-stage development from 1 to 11 grade. The children learn the basics of Jewish kindergartens. The following blocks are completely ready for remote study: Pesach, Lag BaOmer, Shavuot.
The following elements have been adapted and prepared:
- guidelines and materials for teachers;
- webinars and interactive classes for students;
- motivation system for students and teaching staff;
- study of the Granatum Solutions platform;
- a system for monitoring projects and adjusting plans.
At the same time, materials are being prepared for the full-fledged work of all educational structures, including the Jewish community’s youth and educational projects.
The immediate tasks of the school
Due to the timely assistance of the trustees, the school «Or Menachem» overcame the difficulties of switching to distance learning. Online teaching is carried out in all subjects; students have successfully mastered digital technology and continue to go through the program without loss of time. The Methodological Center adapted the materials for the demonstration on the Zoom platform as soon as possible and prepared a whole range of auxiliary webinars for students and their parents.
Among the main problems of distance education, teachers note the difficulty of controlling students’ knowledge when performing verification work. Interactive quizzes with limited time to answer a question can solve the problem. The school plans to acquire virtual classes, where the learning process includes the basic tools for interacting with students: distance lessons, seminars, laboratory workshops, and business games.
Interactive courses cannot fully replace full-time education but are indispensable in force majeure situations. In such cases, the help of sponsors is especially appreciated.
“Members of our community, such as Ruslan Goryukhin, deserve special thanks. He inspires and helps with a fundamental matter by his example,” said the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, and advised to re-examine our values and identify the most critical moments in life once again.
It is known about other charitable activities of Ruslan Goryukhin. In particular, he took an active part in the work of the Foundation “Creation of the Future”. The main objective of this charity foundation was to help the poor and those who find themselves in difficult life situations. It is also known about his financial support for the construction of Orthodox churches.
Ruslan Goryukhin always tried to help those in need – including when he was the top manager of large companies. In particular, it is known that Stroygazmontazh has provided financial support to Russian orphanages. It is also aware of the company’s financial support for the indigenous peoples of the North.
Also, Ruslan Goryukhin gave money for the construction of a mini-hospital in Ukraine. Today it is the hospital equipped with all necessary medical equipment. The number of its patients can be up to 35 people. It is aimed at treating viral diseases that are very relevant and important in today’s pandemic.