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We want a truly different way of school!

Romania
11/24/2015

“The team left me the joyful task of announcing the official launch of our advocacy campaign to improve the implementation of ‘Different School’ week in Romania (‘Different School’ [Școală Altfel] is a national initiative which provides students with a week of non-formal educational activities in place of traditional classroom work).  This is an important step, through which we hope to convince the Ministry of Education to adopt certain regulations which will clarify the ways in which ‘Different School’ is practiced, in order to truly attain its educational goal: valuing the talents and capacities of students through their involvement in activities organized to meet their interests and concerns.

For New Horizons Foundation, our involvement in this campaign is driven by our belief in non-formal education, because ‘Different School’ is all about non-formal education.  Unfortunately, we have arrived at a point where ‘Different School’ has been pulled in ridiculous directions, such as trips to the mall, an extended vacation, or as an experience that is seen as too much work by teachers and parents.

It is the moment to bring ‘Different School’ back to its purpose, and to show that the program is about providing the following opportunities:

  • Students can explore their interests, (re)discover motivation to learn, learn how to learn, and improve their relationships with teachers and classmates from other grades;
  • Schools can involve students in making decisions and organizing practical learning activities, in collaboration with other actors from the community;
  • Schools can experiment with innovative approaches to learning and transfer those activities which are successful into the rest of the school year;
  • The community can be involved in the life of the school and help contribute to the education of its own children and youth;
  • Relationships can be improved between schools, families, and the community.

Wish us success in this campaign – that we would have visibility and create a positive image for New Horizons Foundation and for what we promote in the field of education!”

-- Anca Gaidoș, Manager of New Horizons Foundation

In ‘Different School,’ children have the chance to discover passions and learn how to cultivate them; to make connections between what they learn in school and real life; and to choose a consistent direction in life.  However, during events organized by New Horizons Foundation in 2014 in Iași, Cluj, Bucharest, and Craiova, participants drew attention to the fact that the results of ‘Different School’ in Romania “are not the results that were expected,” and that ‘Different School’ is often seen as “a waste of time” or “an extended vacation” (NHF, 2015).

Because of this, New Horizons Foundation, with support from the working group “Different School; Still Education,” wants to present the Romanian Ministry of Education with a set of proposals in order to improve the ‘Different School’ program.

The working group “Different School; Still Education” came into existence at the invitation of New Horions Foundation after four public café events organized in 2014.  At these events, which had over 160 participants, proposals were developed based on needs collected from group analysis and studies of the domain.

Until January 10, 2016, we are submitting these proposals to the public for discussion, both offline and online.  Offline, we hope for public comments at three meetings organized in Cluj (November 25), Iași (December 10), and Bucharest (December 17).  Online, we have created the site scoalaltfel.wordpress.com, where we hope to receive comments.  Our wish is to reflect the needs of the education field and to offer a premise for higher value to be placed on the ‘Different School’ program!

In the attachment below you can read the position paper written by the “Different School; Still Education” working group. 

We are happy to have the support and involvement of the Coalition for Education in this project!