We find ourselves in the midst of a technological revolution. The future of our work is already looking different, as automation and artificial intelligence are already replacing manual labor. According to specialists, by the end of 2030, robots will have replaced over 800 million jobs, this is the reason we should have a revolution in our mentality now, a revolution of our skills that would open new opportunities in our careers. Our children must be prepared, not to gather information, but to develop their critical thinking, to understand concepts, digital language, creativity, innovation, have antreprenorial skills, enjoy volunteering and involvement in civic life, be interested in research, values and teamwork.
In 2019, Romania still has schools and kindergartens that use backyard toilets, just like in the Middle Ages. Our teaching system is, more often than not, based on fear, linear evaluation, feeding information and assessing memory skills, a place where we encourage obedience, conformation, silence, competition, disunion. Certainly, this does not happen everywhere, there are exceptions, teachers who are very talented and dedicated, but if we take a look at past generations, we cannot have much hope regarding the future.
39% of our highschool graduates have minimum skills to allow them to understand a text or to make logical or scientific elementary reasoning. Romania occupies the first place in the European ranking of functional illiteracy. This means that school is not able to teach these children much. The Romanian system produces graduates who are able to remember and reproduce information in a semi-autistic way, but who are not able to use this information in their daily lives. Basically, we condemn half a generation to not get involved in the future’s economy. In the meantime, 98.5% of the Romanian teachers think they are well or very well prepared regarding their skills, while in Finland, only 64% think they are well-prepared. Solving functional illiteracy should be a priority in Romania, but there is no real, official strategy for this.
If there is a solution to all the problems we have today, that is an education adapted to the times we are living now. The engine of cultural, social, economical development. AN EVOLVED SOCIETY IS AN EDUCATED SOCIETY. What we are seeing today around us, is the result of the education we received at home and in school.
It is time we discussed sincerely and openly about the problems our nation is facing. We are a factory of employees for the whole of Europe and we are not able to keep competent people at home. We are preparing generations of employees, of machines for reciting information, of obedient people, of victims of the system, people who lack initiative and self-esteem, for whom the only salvation is leaving this country. Communism has not yet disappeared from our education system, and the biggest problem is that our teachers, the ones who are the architects of the future, are the ones who need to adapt the most to the psychology of the new generation and to the new global tendencies. Teaching is one of the most important professions in our country. Teachers, together with parents, can model the generations that lead our country forward, they are the ones who set the way this nation works, they are the ones who build generations through their way of thinking. However, they are struggling in a system that does not reward them in any way.
It is high time we stopped brushing things under the rug. We need to focus on our educational system if we want to get this country back on track and to allow everyone to find their role in the transformation that has already begun to take place in the world. We need to do this NOW.
What is the culture we want our educational system to promote? This is the most important question we need to ask ourselves if we want to find out where we are headed as a people. Before anything else, we need to have teachers who develop the MENTALITY of our children, who get them ready not just to perform, but to become leaders, winners, to become strong and to be inclined towards action and the conscience of a thing done well. Furthermore, they need to help our children become leaders through an inclusive culture of kindness, compassion, empathy, friendship, cooperation and unity. They need to help the children develop their self esteem, their courage, integrity and their acceptance of diversity. By planting these seeds, our children will develop a nation, culture and politics based on human values, an advanced society, based on a healthy moral compass that can develop on its own from a technological and economical point of view. It is time we took action NOW through Action, Conscience, Unity and Mentality.
Our organization has international programs for helping teachers perfect their craft, for adult literacy, scholarships, refugee education and mentoring programs. As Governor of the 2241 District, I feel honored to be part of this organization that is so interested in the education in Romania and Moldova.
I want to congratulate every one of you, as I am thankful for your involvement in education projects, in supporting talented youth, in supporting excellence and those with economic difficulties, as well as for your mentoring. Your involvement in youth education can significantly change their life course. I am sure of this, based on my experience with education projects in our District that have made a change.
I want to tell you about 2 district projects I have initiated 4 years ago:
“Cartea Noastră cea din toate zilele” (roughly translated to “Give us our daily book”), a project that is promoting education, rewarding excellence, collecting books for schools, kindergartens, libraries: https://www.carteanoastraro.ro
Rotary Mentoring” – a project that creates bonds between generations in Rotary (mentors) and Rotaract (mentees), facilitating a transformative experience between the two groups: http://mentoring.rotary2241.org
Regardless of whether we plan on bringing forward the need for a better infrastructure for the schools in Romania and Moldova, or to make a measurable contribution to bettering the education quality, it is time we raised the standards and amplified our successes. We need to realize our impact can be even greater.
We can support schools, we can adopt schools, we can unite in our efforts to offer children ideal conditions, adapted to the times we are living, we can reward teachers that are a source of inspiration for their students, we can offer school supplies, scholarships and training programs. What if every club in our District adopted a school and attracted economic partners to help them, how would that increase the quality of life for these children?
Furthermore, education was voted as the main area of interest during this year’s District Conference in Timișoara, this is the best direction we could have chosen for the projects in our District.
Let’s focus on education from now on, not just during this month. But, before anything else, let’s be a good example for our children. Let’s not forget that change begins in ourselves and let’s teach our children this same ideal.
District Governor 2241, Romania si Republica Moldova
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TRAININGS (In Romanian)