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Before it’s too late - Perspective on the Romanian education in 2006 | Educatia de Excelenta

Before it’s too late - Perspective on the Romanian education in 2006

The education and education system in Romania suffered a permanent and continuous degradation in the last 15 years, due to a complex set of causes, including:
1) The functional incapacity of the educational system administration. The frequent change of general inspectors and school principals, based on criteria of political affiliation, removed the apolitical teachers from the administrative system. This fact was aggravated by the lack of specializations within the educational system administration.
2) The lack of a policy makers structure in education. They should have known information regarding the educational systems throughout the world, optimum solutions, the national and global legislations, successful educational programs etc. They should have offered consultancy to decisional factors. Instead of policy makers, in MEC there are still ministerial counselors brought in by every new minister. This is the reason why the programs do not have continuity in time, as almost each program proposed by one minister is cancelled by the other one that follows him.
3) The lack of a global education data base to support the schools. Practically, the teachers are as isolated from the novelties in global education as they were back when the Berlin wall was still standing. The one studying abroad are not welcomed back in the country and they are not hired in consultancy structures.
4) The lack of training in didactical technologies that would cover the students’ educational real needs. The teaching style practiced by the majority of students is sequential, based on memorizing and reproducing, instead of practicing active styles, addressed to the child and not the board.
5) The school planning continues to be sequential, with a quantitative normalization instead a qualitative or correlative normalization of the didactic act. This transforms the teachers in teaching machines, sometimes disinterested in the teaching results.
6) The sub-financing and, therefore, teachers’ lack of motivation towards performance in teaching and self-training. The awards that could be a motivator factor are insignificant and do not allow a professional real competition between teachers.
7) The old curriculum is too stressing for students and causes lack of motivation. The centralized curriculum suffered successive modifications without preliminary studies regarding the necessities and consequences, loosing the logic of its very existence and the necessity for a subsequent social integration.
8) The educational needs on the market are not known. This means that there are only a few insignificant educational programs to cover the youth’ real educational needs.
9) The focus on training without evaluating the feedbacks. This leads to a lack of motivation for students, many of them giving up school, despite being very intelligent and potentially capable of high performance.
10) The lack of active professional organizations to take part in the education designing process. The ones that exist are at most tolerated by MEC without creating real private-public partnerships efficient for solving the problems in education.
11) Parents’ non-involvement in school activities. This creates a large communicational void between family and school, usually leading to certain alienation forms and a chaotic and socially inadequate behavior of the youth.
12) A chronic lack of specialists internationally renowned in the field of education. The few specialists that are internationally renowned are generally not employed or they are avoided by the decisional factor within the educational system, and this leads to amateurism in what concerns the educative policy decisions, with negative effects in time.
13) Education’s excessive centralization, frequently inhibiting the attempts to reform the few schools willing to improve their working methods, as there is not continuity at the level of school inspectorates or MEC in supporting these local reforms.
14) The school or the alternative curricula can assign only a few classes.
15) An educational system stuck in the old traditions and quite inflexible. The less numerous private schools that can offer better educational systems are authorized based on criteria that do not grant them the necessary degree of flexibility for such an offer.
16) The lack of a competent structure in education that could maintain its stability under administrative or political fluctuations. The National Council for Reform in Education or the National Council for Curricula established some times ago did benefit from clear assignments and lacked continuity in time. The inexistence of a continuous structure does not allow the administrative reform based on professional criteria.
17) The high risk of integrating the graduates on the labor market and the incompliance of school offers with the real educational needs. Asking any college or high-school graduate if he ever needed the knowledge acquired in school we would find out that most of this knowledge is useless.
18) The lack of professional training means for teachers. Even when these exists and are active, their offer is dated and all too often tributary to another historical age.
19) The low degree of performance in schools and universities and the lack of teachers that graduated major universities integrated in the educational system.
20) The corruption of national tests and exams, of local evaluations performed by teachers in order to get material advantages or money. This problem can be solved by means of a system accepted by tutoring in school, however this system is refused by the existent legislation.
21) Thick and some times contradictory legislation, which does not cover the education’s real needs.
22) The recent researches in world education are not acknowledged. The lack of research performed by teachers in what concerns the Romanian education.

Before it is too late, all these dysfunctions must be remedied by offering an educational alternative that is capable to resurrect and stimulate the education in Romania.
In this respect, the EDU-GATE program offers the following work directions, validated throughout the world by means of the « gifted education » system.

EDU-GATE Program

This program was designed and developed for the following purposes:

· Drawing the attention on public strategies and implementing them
· Development of gifted education centers and the increase of the number of schools integrated in gifted education programs
· Development of pilot or magnet schools for training, visiting or research
· Training teachers in gifted education specific methodologies and in the implementation of gifted education specific programs.
· The development of funds raise capacity for school mini-projects

The EDU-GATE projects target:
· Gifted education professional development for school and community
· Improved identification of gifted students
· Creation or transfer of specific curricula for class or school use
· Several teachers trained in gifted education methodologies.
· More teachers as active searchers of gifted and / or talented children and more teachers capable of answering their specific needs.
· More school principals to organize the means necessary for the flexible progress of students’ abilities and their learning capacities.
· More partner schools in EDU-GATE, within the reporting and planning cycle
· More students reported as potentially gifted
· More youth to benefit from adequate curricular services
· Possibilities to increase the number of learning means for potentially gifted children and youth
· The problem regarding the difficulties encountered by gifted children and youth in geographically, culturally, socially or economically environments to be considered.
· A leadership role in promoting the education of gifted youth at national level, by exchanging information with national or international organizations within the global network of gifted education specialists.
· A research role in particular areas, such as the connections between giftedness, development, socio-economical advantages, social non-development, exceptionalities, etc.
· Extending the teaching programs to supporting the education and the development of vocational needs in order to increase the labor force value and status.

An educational system globally validated, leading to the economical development of countries where it was implemented, is now offered to Romania by the EDU-GATE Consortium. The law to approve it is now under debate in the Parliament, as it is not considered a law important enough to be seen as a priority. The voting of this law was postponed until the end of the parliamentarian holiday. The government’s reaction towards this law was a negative one, while the reaction of prodigious international specialists regarding this law was one of appreciation and support.

It id clear now, following multiple « reforms » that there is a need for vision and transfer of world best-practices in the Romanian education in order to obtain the benefic effects of development.
We still have enough intellectual resources in the young generation in order for the ca gifted education to render benefic effects in the future. If we want to have a change for the better in the future, we need to invest in education, first of all in the proper education of those who can return the investment with an infinitely higher profit, namely the education of youth and children capable of high performance.
The communist tradition of the working class eliminated precisely the most valuable human resource – the gifted youth that were not allowed to enter Romania anymore once they left for studies abroad.
Currently, the brain regain program is still regarded suspiciously and the amateurism of decisional factors endangers the very national being. There is a need for change before it is too late and this is the right direction. There is a need for teachers trained at major universities throughout the world, teachers devoted to education. This kind of teachers is trained in the gifted education program at international level. Maybe the intellectual resource is the only one left at this moment, the other ones being exhausted or controversial.
We still have performances at annual competitions on mathematics, however we are not consumers of mathematics inside the country, so the young mathematicians have to leave abroad in order to build for themselves a professional career adequate for their potential.
Mathematicians who could work in industry, scientific research, financial or budgetary system, new technologies, cannot find jobs in Romania, as the industry became fragile, the scientific research became a luxury and the financial and budgetary system are under political control, while, in what concerns the new technologies where the genial young people could get Romania world fame, things are even worse.
We have to direct our efforts of forming gifted children and young people to all the directions including especially the ones of the greatest importance for the national development.
We have to integrate the modern researches in education in order to prepare the young people capable of high performances at the level of maximizing their own potential. Countries that are now economic world leaders have been making efforts in this direction since long ago, countries without existential unhappiness caused by economical factors and with respect for cultural, human, material and natural values. This respect is developed within gifted education programs.
How many students are interested, these days, in education and school teaching? How many graduates are integrated in labor according to their training in faculty or high-school?
The interest in education is manifested at teachers with options and possibilities of perfecting their teaching style and the understanding of human nature. The teachers’ positive evolution entails the students’ positive evolution, however only when the act of education is respected as a sacred act, directly related to an ideal human nature.
The school as a world of cultivating the ideals and motivations towards evolution and perfection is the school within the gifted education program.
The teaching at a high level of quality does not imply giving orders or displaying knowledge, encouraging the students to learn and testing them, but rather cultivating their perceptive faculties, gathering information sorting and testing them, explaining the phenomena and the conclusions based on logic, correctly predicting and patterning the phenomena.
The teaching at high level respects the differences between children’s learning styles, corrects the weaknesses and strengthens the abilities, respects the student’s way of thinking and his inner being.
The high level teaching is performed by means of teachers’ permanent act of perfection, through continuous education and self-education, by effectively using modern technology, by recognizing and rewarding the successes, results and quality.
This can be made only by means of an education focused on the development of children’s abilities, all the other components being subordinated to it. And all these within a stimulative legislation, by means of correct decisions taken by decisional factors, by creating a group of experts in policy making and by paying respect to the profession of teacher.
The professional development is not a luxury but a necessity. The teachers should work not only in front of the class but during their entire spare time in order to develop their own profession, and the state should encourage and facilitate this. The gifted education program provides the best performances throughout the world in what concerns the teachers’ professional development. The teachers should take responsibility regarding this professional development, and improve their teaching styles, while trying to understand better the students.
The honest and professional evaluation of all the components, stages and achievements in the education will contribute to the same result. Such an evaluation should suggest solutions, directions, means and methods of improving the results.
The teachers should keep contact with each other, communicate, work as a team and encourage the students to also work as a team, to use the professional groups as a sacrosanct network in providing pertinent information. The professional groups should be the most valuable resource for all the teachers.
The most representative experiences should be spread and the teachers with such experiences assigned as leaders within the professional groups. These are current achievements in gifted education.
The Internet portals and the data bases on the Internet allow, throughout the world, the exploitation of the pedagogical experience and work of the most prodigious teachers in the world. These resources should be acknowledged and taken advantage of.
The programs of rewarding the students and teachers’ efforts are also an extreme necessity. These will lead to the increase of motivation for study, personal development, for perfecting styles and results. In the case of teachers, these recognitions of professional merits must contribute significantly to their material well-being. This way the gap between the rich and the poor regions, between the rural and the urban ones in what concerns the number of professionally qualified teachers and especially teachers specialized in gifted education and the methodologies concerning the high level teaching will be reduced.
The recruitment of teachers should be performed based on their active capacities and potential to become efficient in their profession. The profession of teacher, the same as the profession of doctor, requires special qualities and should be recognized, appreciated and rewarded as such.
A program of inducing the necessary abilities for teaching can be made by the contribution of teachers with large experience in teaching, especially the ones with performances in teaching, permanently supervised and trained in the gifted education program.
The most capable teachers should cooperate with the students requiring a higher educational effort, such as the gifted children. The younger teachers do not have to teach classes with a higher degree of difficulty.
Partnerships with the business environment, local administration, with representatives of local communities should be concluded in order to connect the education with the social and economical life.
These partnerships can raise funds but also effective work experience for students, and they are classic in the gifted education program.
The incomes of teachers with performances should equal the incomes of any other specialists with performances. Otherwise, the profession of teacher will never be an option for the most valuable and capable students.
A minister of education should be fully aware of all this and become the partisan of the gifted education program before it is too late to correct the mistakes done throughout time. The duty of the government and parliament is not only to solve urgent problems but also to create or accept a vision of development, to prepare the future and act, based on laws, in the favor of this future.

All these BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.

Florian Colceag

President
IRSCA GIFTED EDUCATION
EDUGATE President

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