A memorandum on the development of education system based on digital skills has been concluded yesterday in response to the crisis caused by COVID-19, signed by the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research signed, yesterday, with the National Association of Companies in the field of Information and Communication Technologies and the Public Institution ICT Training and Innovation Center – Tekwill.
The memorandum provides for the development of digital teaching aids and equipping schools in the Republic of Moldova with the necessary equipment for the introduction of digital education at all levels. The document also involves the training of teachers in the adaptation and promotion of information technologies, ensuring the relevance and quality of ICT skills for professional activity in a digital economy, by harmonizing ICT education in Moldova with labor market requirements.
The signing of the Memorandum was attended by the Minister of Education, Culture and Research, Igor ȘAROV, the executive director of ATIC, Marina BZOVÎI, the president of the ATIC Council, Veaceslav CUNEV, the director of ATIC strategic projects / project director Tekwill, Ana CHIRIȚA, and the rector of UTM, Vorel BOSTAN, who, in this context, also fulfilled the role of the chairman of the IP Council “ICT Training and Innovation Center – Tekwill”.
“Technology and innovation are the future. These are terms that have penetrated the most diverse areas of society, from business to sports, from education and health to a wide range of services. It is well known that skilled workers are the key to business creation and development, and Moldovan IT companies face a shortage of skilled staff to meet the demands and challenges of the IT business environment. In this sense, innovative educational solutions are needed, but with rapid impact, to address both the quality of the workforce and the entrepreneurial ecosystem, as challenges for digital innovation and successful IT business”, said the Minister of Economy and Infrastructure, Sergiu RAILEAN.
According to the Minister of Education, Culture and Research, Igor ȘAROV, a competitive, knowledge-based economy is the foundation of a developed society with an optimistic outlook on the future. “The digital transformation in all sectors of the economy is a priority for the Republic of Moldova, and the transformation of education is not a priority, but is an indisputable necessity to increase citizens prepared for the professions of the future”, said Minister Igor ȘAROV.
The President of the National Association of ICT Companies, Veaceslav CUNEV pointed out that a purpose of this Memorandum is to introduce the study of digital skills in kindergarten. “It is important for us that the best digital skills are developed from kindergarten and schools, that they have digital platforms. Our task is to familiarize children about digital skills in kindergarten. Experience shows that, without the help of the state and international partners, they will not be able to do this”, said Veaceslav CUNEV.
Reiterating the strong commitment of the Technical University of Moldova in supporting the development of the IT branch, prof. Viorel BOSTAN underlined:
– I have had a feeling of déjà vu for 6 years, when in an unfinished building, here, on the Râșcani campus, I signed the Memorandum with our development partners and, frankly, I had beautiful hopes about it and I did not know that I would reach the time in which these dreams would come true. Now, I live an extraordinary feeling of satisfaction, seeing that much more than I dreamed of then – is happening now.
I was asked what would be the motivation of the Technical University to get involved in such processes, which are not directly related to the academic or research activity. My answer lies in the third mission of the University. In addition to the mission of disseminating knowledge – the academic activity, and the one of generating new knowledge – the activity of research and innovation, in the last 15-20 years, the third one is becoming more and more evident, namely the mission on the service to society regarding the involvement of the university in identifying and solving societal problems, even if some of them are not directly related to the specifics of the university. For us, this is very important.
If we are to look at what defines a successful university, we will identify three important factors: the “raw minds” that enter the university (forgive my comparison) – graduates of high schools and colleges/centers of excellence, who come to continue their studies at university. And if they come well prepared – our work has a greater effect, because we manage to give them more information, more knowledge, not having to cover the gaps left by the pre-university system, if it did not cope. That is why the “raw minds” are an extremely important thing. How those children are prepared, what areas of interest they choose, how they are guided, their level of digital skills – all these are key skills.
The second determining factor for a university is funding. On this occasion, I would like to express my sincere thanks to Minister Igor Șarov, who, both as Minister and as Secretary of the ministry, insisted on very important reforms, which already have a positive effect and will have a greater positive effect in the future. I am referring to the reform of research funding and the reform of university education funding. After the conditions for allocating funding according to the level of research have changed, the Technical University of Moldova has managed, in a fair competition, to increase its funding at least 4-5 times. It’s an extraordinary amount for us! And those projects that will be financed from the state budget will be successful and of great importance for the country.
The second reform that will take place from January 1, 2021, is related to the financing of university education that, we believe, will contribute to changing the overall prospects in universities. We will become much more motivated to develop the universities we have.
The third determining factor for the development of universities depends on “where” our final “product” goes, in other words, it depends on the success of the business environment and industry. Or if there are no “consumers” of the “university product”, why do we, the universities, still exist? In this sense, our collaboration with the business environment and with the industries is very important. An essential role belongs to the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure, which creates all the conditions for the development of engineering in the Republic of Moldova, whether we are talking about new infrastructure projects, roads, bridges, new buildings, gas or water supply systems, sustainable agriculture, the IT sector, which today is one of the most important elements. In this context, I would like to reiterate our firm commitment to support all actions of Tekwill, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research and the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure for continuous efforts in prioritizing and placing digital education as one of the most important goals, concluded Viorel BOSTAN .
Today, information and communication technologies are an economic sector that is making significant progress. 2145 companies with over 27 thousand employees operate in the IT sector, the share of the ICT sector in the country’s gross domestic product being about 7%.
We remind you that on June 14, 2018, a Memorandum was signed between MEI, MECC, ATIC and Tekwill on “Development of digital education in general education”, aiming to involve the whole community to support the transformation of digital and entrepreneurial education in the country. As a result, an extensive process of rethinking technological and digital education in the education system was launched, an initiative resulting in the mandatory introduction of digital education from the first grade in the school curriculum since September 1, 2018, as well as the stimulation of optional robotics courses, entrepreneurship, digital creativity, career guidance, etc.