Professor Vasili Nikoaro dismantles “the fear of the majority”

Since last year, when a student with an admission average of 4.48 reached the National College “Mircea cel Bătrân”, in the second computerized distribution, Professor Vasile Nicoară, director of the prestigious institution, was very indignant at the situation, saying that “we are witnessing the bankruptcy of the high school admission system! The fairness of submitting the entrance examination to high schools in high demand has been clarified.”

Here, however, the new ‘Learned Romania’ pre-university education draft law provides for the introduction of a ‘personal’ admission prior to the national assessment. While awaiting the result of EDUPART’s questionnaire on this topic, I spoke about this new topic with Professor Vasili Nikoar, Member of the Board of Directors of the Alliance of Centennial Colleges (ACC), who is in frequent contact with the other four colleagues in the ACC Department, but also with President Jorge Kazaku. -Consult about the latest feedback or opinions.

– What was the reaction of the leadership of the Centenary Colleges Alliance to the items for selecting the elite?

– Years ago, the leadership of the Centenary Colleges Alliance campaigned for a series of provisions in the future law, which would give a more consistent content of educational activity in the national colleges. Why only centenarians? Because it was based on the idea that 100 years is a respectable age for secondary schools in Romania, which carries a tradition from the beginning of the 20th century, when school was very consistent, and high school graduation was a higher level of quality education. Subsequently, in carrying out the activity for common goals, we also took into account the prestige that the secondary schools in question had acquired by tradition, by contributing to the development of the national elite, and requested the patronage of the royal house. From the outset, certain common goals, which uphold the principle of value, have been defined on the scale of time and society in which we live, to maintain the level of intellectual elite, and educational elite, in the formation of the nation. The cultural fabric, because that’s what they also made over time in these schools.

In descending into the process of governance, we must see that the organization of a network of coherent schools leads to the creation of the national elite, certainly, to its formation, for the next stage is the university stage. But the general culture is formed in high school, and the foundations are laid here.

– By following this idea, what should the corporate structure look like?

– Well, we have 41 counties and some sectors of the capital. If we start from the premise, grosso modo, that we have in each district two or three such schools of great tradition and value, we come to the conclusion that it is a sufficiently consistent, but also representative network, which can receive some characteristics by law and some the details. Among them, the most necessary to introduce the principle of quality and merit is the selection of teachers and the selection of students. So long as this selection is made in an average beach, we have a modest structure of claims in the selection and are altered, as is known, by the pressure that grades have placed on high school admissions, and thus dilution of grades. Added to this is the vulnerability of children in a more isolated and anxious society, subject to this pressure to which we are still unaccustomed. Not even us, the adults of the other regime, who were subjected to the pressures of dictatorship. Eh, this fragility is bolstered by the changes brought about by the pandemic, as we double their grades, and accept that they don’t open their rooms just to be present… All these dilutions of educational work weigh on the elite as well.

– But there is a reaction to rejecting this choice …

– I don’t understand why there is a refusal reaction, on the part of many, to a few schools, 80-100 of the 1200 in Romania, to organize these competitions.

It means being able to choose that student body whose conduct is capable of creating a soul with sincerity, with resistance to stress, selflessness, higher goals, and aspiration to achieve more and more consistent knowledge. The difficulty will be how I choose. We can be inspired or at least analyze other systems. In the Anglo-Saxon system, selection is based on motivational files and essays. But this matter cannot be discussed today in our society, because the degree of their subjectivity is so high that they are rejected.

– but it also comes against the backdrop of a tradition that has been perpetuated by generations.

Precisely for this reason, in order to develop an elite school and preserve traditions, we must also raise the prestige of the teacher. How do we raise it? Just a salary raise? Not! Money, whatever it is, will not make up for the basic human qualities of the job. Above all, we need to increase the public’s respect for this job. When teacher X in high school Y, both of whom are very famous, is author of serious subjects, and then teacher who will work for four years in high school with the selected children offers a guarantee, the prestige of both will be tenfold. The teacher’s authority will be further recognized. You will also know the authority of the committee that creates the topics.

The whole point is to get that choice right. I think this is the fear of most people, that it can be disfigured, as I know, by the sale of material by teachers.

– Doubt about the subjects you know has gone since you were accepted into the fifth grade. There was talk of inflating the difficulty.

– I have experience in this school for 20 years and I am sure there are examples of dissatisfied people, but we do not find conclusive examples where a very good child said that he failed to study the material, because they were beyond his powers. But, perhaps, he did not have the mental resistance to the emotional difficulty of the exam.

Although the Secretary of State also said that 12 is too young for some tests, I believe that choice, not just from an exam in a day, can be considered by good doses and cleverly created. I think the main problem of this exam is getting rid of emotional tension. An example of choice is for our college to organize traditional mathematics competitions, in the fall, in the winter, in the spring, accompanied by a methodology in which we say that all children who have exceeded a certain score in these competitions can register for a final exam for our students to reach it. It will be more convenient, more attractive and objective for the residents as well. We have suggested such methods, but if they are not included in the law, then you can not do them.

– Wouldn’t you consider 90% of tuition fees too high for employment based solely on your competition?

Frankly, we have differences of opinion here. A colleague from Cluj spoke about 75%. There may be different proportions. As for the opinion of the parents, those who aspire to have their son or daughter enter Ovidius or Mircea, or enter through a test taken in high school, or through a national assessment, the student must have some level of training. I offer him the opportunity to take an exam to fill some places with the materials created by the school, and if for reasons completely separate from the quality of his training – that he was sick, and made a stupid mistake – he still has a chance in other places to go to the national assessment, therefore, they increase their chances , and do not diminish them.

Certainly other secondary schools would then be organized by value, in its continuation, into the pyramid. And they must be well-defined: those who do the job must do the job, not to be confused with the theoretical tricks of high school, taking first or second grade and waiting for a bac.

– What other proposals does the ACC have for the Romanian Education Bill?

– We came with a proposal to select the faculty members in the faculties clearly, even assuming a trial period. It is absolutely necessary to improve the selection and status of teachers in colleges. A measure that will also greatly help rural education, the possibility of selecting suitable people for specialties, will be an opportunity to install on parts of the base. We are also interested in increasing the percentage of curricula available to the school. The possibility of modifying the material was created as an experimental school, but it is very difficult to implement it.

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