Education - resource for a modern society and grant for democracy | SIVECO Romania

Education - resource for a modern society and grant for democracy

Monday, February 9, 2004

Bucharest, February 9th -The European seminar on "Challenges and Prospects in Education" has recently been organized in Bucharest, at Mr. Florian Filip?s - Vice -President of the Romanian Academy and member of Information Society Technologies Advisory Group (ISTAG) - innitiative, under the supervision of the Romanian Ministry of Education, Research and Youth.

The event was focused on new aspects of the Educational IT-Based reform development as a vector for society modernization and effectiveness of European integration. The seminar also intends to generate trust among the public regarding the educational IT-based system.

Well known European experts with great contribution to the modernization of the educational system on our continent attended the event: Proffesor Athanasios Tsouroplis, Secretary of State in the Greece Minister of Education and Cults, Proffesor Gianfranco Manes from University of Florence; Proffesor Brian Randell from the Computer Since Faculty (New Castle upon Tyne University), Proffesorul Paul Spirakis, Manager of the Academic Institut for Tehnology in Patras. Another distinguished guest from abroad was Proffesor George Metakides from Patras University, who was in charge with research programs within UE structures for many years.

Along with the Vicepresident of the Romanian Academy, Mr. Filip and the Manager of the Educational IT-Based Program innitiated by the RMERY, Mr. Traian Ionescu, representatives of SIVECO Romania (software integrater of the SEI program), patronates, sindical unions, teachers and pupils took part in the event.

After a summary of the European educational trends, discussions focused on evaluation of the IT program currently implemented in Romania.

The Romanian expertise in IT-based education was presented by Proffesor Traian Ionescu, who made an overwiew of the actions performed at both undergraduate and universitary level.

 "The master orientation of the entire Romanian society regarding the European values and standards triggered the political decision made by the Romanian Ministry of Education and Research to implement the IT-based Education Program, a process which not only resource consuming and risky (from technical to social aspects).", declared Proffesor Ionescu

After a pilot stage in 2001 and the high school computerized admission and distribution success in the summer of 2001, highy apreciated abroad and winner of a "Best Practice" award in a Governmental conference held in Bruxelles, the program expanded to national level in all highschools in Romania -a stage already completed at this moment.

"We were concerned for two problems in particular: the quality of the IT tool made available for teachers- the AEL platform, and the level of adaptability to the user?s needs. One of the methods we used to assure the success of the project was the teacher?s training and assistance efforts. A relevant figure for our effort is the total time spent by the implementation teams on training the end-users: 30 years - a life time. In absolut figures, we are talking about training 13.000 users (teachers, administrators, even pupils) in 2003, in order to assure a proper use and an effective assimilation of the system" , stated Irina Socol, General Manager of SIVECO Romania, the company who developed and implemented the eLearning platform AEL in 1220 high schools all over Romania.

The opinions expressed by the participants from abroad regarding the Educational IT-Based Program under development in the Romanian schools are valuable recognitions for SEI?s users, as they come from people with great experience and authority in the field of education.

Proffesor George Metakides highlighted that "learning is a process which has always been closely related to technology, and that introducing IT in education is a significant investment for the future." He also said that "it takes cohearance in designing and managing the education system at European level.

"In a Europe where virtual universities and the traditional school model, we need a system which allows harmonizations in knoledge and standardization of competencies", said Mr. Metakides.

In his turn, professor Athanasios considers that the succes of this IT-based education program depend on the way the whole society involves in the process consideră că succesul acestui demers de informatizare depinde de felul în care întreaga, while Proffesor Gianfranco Manes (Univesity of Florence) asserted that programs such as SEI are part of a national relaunching strategy as they are aiming at assuring the proper environment for everyone to learn everywhere. A successful and trusted project similar to the Romanian one was innitiated by the University of Florence, providing permanent on-line assistance, which turned this academic institution in an open university for every student in the world.

"Now, the mission of the university is to deliver academic information online for projects, training, documentation, distance learning or reference system which provide the student a frame for control and development."

Speaking about the Greek experience in bringing IT tools to classes started in 1990, proffesor Paul Spirakis, Manager of the Academic Institut for Technology in Patras stated that after implementing the pilot project, which created the first 70 content titles came the extention at national level.

"The goal of this ample actions is to offer equal chances to all society members, fight the social exclusion and school deliquency, as well as making the transition of the educational process towards the information society, by cohearant and coordonated actions. Our intention is to help people with disabilities have access to all learning tools and expand success experiences to the schools in the entire country, train all teachers and cover the entire school curricula" said Mr. Paul Spirakis.

From the point of view of professor Brian Randel (Computer Since Faculty - New Castle upon Tyne University) "the Romanian Educational IT- based program deserves our appreciations, both for its mission and the results gained so far. It?s a very interesting partnership with impressive results. The UK experience in eLearning can be a useful example for the risks that can appear and the solutions for them".

At conference close, Professor Metakides concluded that the event offered every participant (educational projects experts and end users) "the chance of an overview on SEI, and, at the same time, the opportunity of comparing it to other European experiences in the field for a project in partnership, which can be further on developed and implemented."

This European reunion represents an extra proof that, from the educational point of view, Romania is already in line with the European trends. Moving the Romanian schools towards the IT-based education is an investment with profound implications for the future of the Romanian society, an engine for national development and a grant for democracy by assuring people broad access to education.

About SEI

The Educational IT-Based System was innitiatied by the Group for IT Promotion in the summer of 2001 and implemented by an IT consortium made up by HP, IBM and SIVECO Romania 

SEI sustaines the objective of the educational reform, in accordance with the eEurope strategy elaborated by the European Comission. It is also part of the European eLearning strategy.

SEI is a complex, long term program, involving many human and material resources.

About the eLearning System AEL

AEL is an integrated system assisting pupils, teachers and all the participants at the learning process developed by SIVECO Romania and constitutes the axis of the software applications in the information program of the Romanian schools.

Started in 2001, the program promotes in Romania educational methods aligned to the European standards.

The AEL system is built up based on modern educational methods, which conform to the three stages, which generally define the educational process: obtaining basic knowledge, developing the tactical and strategic thinking.