Sibiu, March 10th, 2023: Students should have a voice in school decisions, parents and authorities should regain their trust in school directors, digitalization should be a condition for efficient management and education systems, education budgets should be spent more efficiently, and the development of private schools should contribute to improving the overall quality of education - these are just some of the conclusions drawn by education experts who participated in a conference organized by the Romanian-Finnish School ERI in Sibiu yesterday afternoon.
The discussions focused on current and future trends in the education system, strategies for developing schools adapted to modern times, the importance of efficient school management and leadership for the well-being of all beneficiaries, as well as principles and best practices of Finnish education with a positive impact on the Romanian educational process.
Ari Pokka, an expert with over 25 years of experience in the Finnish education system and a member of the ERI Board of Directors, emphasized the importance of collaboration between students, teachers, and parents in the school decision-making process. "Students should be more involved in the school's decision-making processes, their voice should be heard regardless of their age," he said.
The co-founder of ERI and advisor at the Prime Minister's Chancellery, Department for Social Responsibility and Vulnerable Groups, Radu Szekely, also emphasized the need for parents, teachers, and authorities to collaborate in developing education in Romania. He also stated that "in Romania, we struggle with a lack of trust in the honesty of those who run schools. We should think more about how to make the profession and position of school director more attractive and less about how to restrict them so that they don't steal. I would like funding in Romania to follow the Finnish principle, where the director projects the budget based on the school's needs and receives the requested budget that is spent efficiently to increase the quality of education in the school, but we still have a long way to go. In Romania, funding needs to be increased, we need to see where the money is being wasted, efficiency needs to be increased, and the system needs to be rethought so that the quality can be increased, and of course, we need to see where we can get the necessary budget from."
Inspector General of the Sibiu County School Inspectorate, Emilian Marius Novac, who was also present at the conference, said, "The school is like a living organism that constantly needs renewal and refreshment. Although the needs are different and there are multiple funding sources, the budget remains the same, and the efficient use of it requires the school director to be an accountant, lawyer, and only then a teacher."
"For the school, digitalization is a defining condition, given that we work with digital natives. In Victoria, we started the process of digitalizing the school 17 years ago by introducing elements of media education and digital competencies in Romanian Language and Literature classes. I can say that the digitalization process is approaching completion, with only teacher training left on the agenda. Additionally, the process was aided by involvement in projects such as 'Relevant Counselling and Guidance for Quality and Transregional Education,' 'Relevant Curriculum, Open Education for All - CRED,' and 'National Program for Reducing School Dropouts,' as well as the implementation of the digital catalog and inclusion in the national project of pilot media schools," said Anda Laura Silea, director of the Ion Codru Dragusanu Theoretical High School in Victoria, in a discussion about school digitalization.
According to Prof. Dr. Ray F. Iunius, the CEO of Winsedswiss Education Group, one of the main challenges faced by private investors in education is the negative perception of private education institutions that arose after the post-revolutionary period, which brought many private educational institutions, some of which became diploma factories. However, he also acknowledged that many private institutions have done an excellent job in improving the image of private education. There is still discrimination from decision-makers who view private education as a competitor rather than a serious aid to the state in educating young people.
Iunius believes that schools like ERI by Winsedswiss, along with other high-quality private schools in Romania, have a duty to pilot a process of quantitative and qualitative change in education, creating a code of best practices based on personalized education for each child's abilities. ERI's goal is not to remain an isolated island in Sibiu and/or Brasov but to become an open center for the local community, creating a positive impact and contributing to a better future for both students and the entire community.
„ERI by winsedswiss continuă, așadar, să se dezvolte pe verticală prin gimnaziu, liceu și – de ce nu – o viitoare universitate, iar pe orizontală, prin extinderea spațiilor sale, nu numai ca volum, ci în special prin crearea unor facilități de mare calitate, în care copiii, învățătorii și chiar părinții să vină cu plăcere și dragoste”, a concluzionat Ray F. Iunius.
Dana Pitariu, the General Director of the Romanian-Finnish School Group ERI, presented plans for the development of educational units, including aligning with new Finnish quality standards for schools outside of Finland, expanding the teaching staff, continuing training and specialization programs, including training programs with Finnish experts, investing in school infrastructure, and establishing the ERI Academic Institute.
The Romanian-Finnish School ERI was founded by the Didactica Foundation and operates under the ARACIP authorization in Sibiu, starting in 2016, and in Brasov, from the autumn of 2022. Since its founding, the school has built a positive reputation both in the local community and nationally and internationally. The partnerships developed, with representative actors from the educational fields in Finland and Romania, strengthen the links between education, research and innovation, bringing added value to the institutional capacity building and teacher training.
Since July 2020, the Didactica Foundation has entered into a development partnership with the Swiss group winsedswiss (Winsedswiss Education Group). The vertically integrated institution holding, with branches in Romania, Switzerland, and Serbia, has as its main objective the creation and provision of educational programs for every stage of life, from kindergarten to university and beyond, throughout one's professional career.
Contact: Adina Triandafil
Phone number: +40 746 116 186
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Posted on 13/03/2023
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