Israel's Model of Engineering Education Comes To American Jewish High Schools

February 9, 2014

Source: The Jewish Daily Forward


Begun in 2011, the two-year CIJE-Tech High School Engineering Program currently operates in 27 Jewish high schools, in areas ranging from California to North Carolina. Adam Jerozolim, a professional engineer who once designed hydraulic systems for nuclear submarines, serves as a mentor to teachers in 12 schools in the New York City area that participate in the program.


The advantage of the CIJE-Tech Engineering and Bio-medical Technology program is that it builds on one of Israel’s most successful educational experiments. CIJE’s program is adapted and licensed from the Israel Sci-Tech Schools Network, also known as ORT Israel. Founded in 1949, shortly after Israel’s founding, Sci-Tech is the largest nongovernmental school system in Israel, enrolling one out of every 10 high school students and producing the largest number of practical engineers in Israel.


The CIJE-Tech curriculum was designed with the following objectives:

  • Prepare students for academic study in higher education, especially in engineering
  • Expose students to a diverse range of scientific and technological knowledge areas
  • Develop ability for abstract and interdisciplinary thinking
  • Develop leadership and teamwork skills
  • Introduce students to STEM careers

Program Components:

Scientific Engineering & BioMedical Engineering Curriculum: CIJE has partnered with the Israel Sci-Tech educational network to create an interactive, discovery-oriented high school engineering curriculum. Under the leadership of the CIJE educational team, the curriculum has been tailored for American students. The studies in this track are based on innovative pedagogical approaches which develop analytical, systemic, critical and creative thinking skills. The syllabus is designed such that after any two hours of frontal learning, is one hour of practical work with use of equipment. Alternatively, certain theoretical units can be spread over three or more lessons with extensive practical work taking place along the way.


Cap Stone Project: Teams of 3 students are required to create a capstone project which addresses a real world need. The project is interdisciplinary in nature, and helps students develop soft skills such as team work, time management, literature survey, reporting and presenting. The teamwork requires both a division of labor and independent learning. The teacher provides guidance, direction and assessment. However due to the R&D nature of the project, the teacher becomes part of the team learning along with the students. This approach creates a "learning ommunity of reciprocity between teacher and student, and allows for the development of independent learning by students.


Teacher Training: An intensive training program involving over 23 days of teacher training has been developed.


Read more at The Jewish Daily Forward.

Updated: Feb. 27, 2014