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February 08, 1991 - Image 109

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-02-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

BUSINESS

4 111 erusalem — Trial and

error has traditionally
been a prerequisite for
learning practical skills, but
these days computers have
the potential to simulate
situations, leaving little room
for error. Israel's Degem
Systems Limited, a world
leader in the development
and manufacturing of com-
puter technological training
systems, has exported more
than $100 million of its pro-
ducts to 64 countries.
Comprehensive, integrated
teaching systems are
available which begin with
feasibility studies, teacher
training, building and equip-
ping facilities and subsequent
service and support. The com-
pany's units range from
health care, nutrition and
rural development projects to
sophisticated agricultural
programs on such topics as
poultry breeding. Software
can be adapted to suit any
subject.
Founded in 1969, Degem is
sustaining an annual growth
rate of 115 percent and
Degem soon expects to be the
largest manufacturer of its
kind in the world. Sales have
reached almost $20 million
per year and the company's
unique systems are suitable
for both the industrial and
developing world and can be
found throughout Europe,
North America, Latin
America, the Far East and
Africa.
Israel Asher, Degem's
founder and president, sees
the company's success as "a
light unto the nations":
achieving economic success in
less than a generation
through the exploitation of
Israel's only major natural
resource — human ingenuity.
"We have been able to
develop more innovative, effi-

A mobile Degem instructional unit in Israel.

Brain Trust

An Israeli firm is becoming
dominant in the world market
for computer instruction in
agriculture and education.

SIMON GRIVER

Special to The Jewish News

cient and less expensive
systems than competitors in
the United States and
Europe," Mr. Asher says. "We
have stayed ahead of the field
by investing 10 percent of our
turnover in research and
development because we can-
not afford to sit back and
become complacent. Each
year we have to renew and up-
• date at least 20 percent of our
systems and products."
Mr. Asher has high praise
for the skills of his more than
200-strong work force and
pays tribute to Israel's net-

work of 400 technical educa-
tion institutions which have
provided the backbone of the
country's high-tech sector.
Degem works closely with
many of these institutions.
The company operates a joint
project with Tel Aviv Univer-
sity's Department of Engin-
eering to offer courses in ad-
vanced technology to their
customers, while the Open
University in Tel Aviv allows
its students- to work at home
with Degem's systems.
Degem is located in a
science-based industrial park

in the north Tel Aviv suburb
of Zahala. The company has
five divisions: computers,
high-tech learning systems,
integrated skill development,
agro-technologies and rural
development, and military
technology. State-of-the-art
products provide training
tools for customers that in-
clude school children, univer-
sity students, technicians,
engineers, farmers and
military personnel.
Degem's best-known pro-
duct is the TOAM computer-
assisted instruction system

which is used in 45 percent of
Israel's elementary schools.
An enormous boon in
teaching youngsters basic
literacy and arithmetic,
TOAM has placed Israel on
the international education
map because it is one of the
few countries to develop and
implement such a standardiz-
ed nationwide system. TOAM
is also used throughout
Europe and America and is
the official computer instruc-
tion program of the New York
City school system.
Degem has also pioneered
the use of mobile training
units for both urban and
rural environments. These
field programs are operated
from elaborate, custom-built
vehicles which the company
supplies fully equipped with
every teaching aid im-
aginable, from tables and
chairs to the computer hard-
ware itself. The mobile units
are assembled in Israel and
exported to the client's coun-
try. These units can be found
deep in the jungle, on the
remotest desert plains and
parked on busy city streets.
Such a system was recently
sold to the New Mexico and
Texas school authorities.
Operating on a weekly
schedule, these mobile com-
puter units tour schools in
outlying regions.
Other mobile units can be
found in Africa, helping to in-
tegrate women into the in-
dustrial work -force and
teaching handicrafts and
other domestic occupations.
Mr. Asher is justifiably pro-
ud of his company's
achievements. "We started
from scratch," he recalls. "We
did not buy our know-how.
day we are among the largest
firms in our kind in the
world." ❑

World Zionist Press Service

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

109

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