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There is a huge gap between the education system and the labor market

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The education system in Romania has been unchanged for over 70 years and does not take into account the evolution of society and the needs of today’s children, according to Ovidiu Atanasiu, founder of AmSchool and Success Academy. He spoke to us in an interview about the solutions that children have today for development.

Which you consider to be the main oneof problem of the education system in our country?

An unchanged system for over 70 years, a system that does not take into account the evolution of society and the needs of today’s children, cannot work. And it shows. There is no main problem. We are talking about a set of problems that act interdependently. From the way learning spaces are designed, to the way textbooks and lessons are created, to the attitude of teachers, to the learning process, to the reproductive assessment, to the funding system of schools. All. In AmSchool I rethought everything. I ruled out the idea of ​​developing “another private school” in Bucharest. We are the only school in Romania 100% adapted to children and the current context.

To what extent does the education system in our country respond to the needs of the labor market?

At the moment, there is a huge gap between the education system and the labor market. So I would answer that to a very small extent. When I started Success Academy I did a study on this topic and I admit that I was very surprised. That was 7 years ago. I couldn’t imagine the distance. Having several projects in parallel in the business area, I asked my clients and almost all of them told me “we don’t have people ready”. When I asked what “prepared” means, I expected them to list technical training topics specific to companies. But, unfortunately, most of the answers were in the area: “I don’t know how to relate / communicate”, “I don’t know how to argue”, “I don’t know how to present”, “I don’t speak English”, “I don’t know how to solve problems”, “To decide”, “to take responsibility”, “to plan” etc. That’s when I realized what we had to do at Success Academy. Let’s “fill” the gap. If Success Academy is the most complex program of personal development, leadership and entrepreneurship, AmSchool is school-school. The idea came to us from the young people we worked with and who wanted a free school (middle school and high school).

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How does AmSchool change this?

AmSchool is the only flipped education school. This means that we have changed the responsibility of teaching, from teachers, to the responsibility of learning. The principle is simple. It is useless for a teacher to teach if you do not listen to him and do not take responsibility for learning. That is why, from the beginning and under guidance, our students learn 2 essential things that become a way of life: responsibility and autonomy. We want children to learn with pleasure and autonomy. On the other hand, AmSchool is a school created on a business mindset. I don’t know how to translate this as accurately as possible. We are very pragmatic and focused on entrepreneurship. Through mentoring, coaching, counseling, we support young people to achieve performance in all subjects. Business principles work perfectly in school. And when our young people grow up in a culture adapted to the labor market, it is clear that they will have a quick time to adapt to any type of organization.

What are the chances of rapid integration into the labor market of those who finish their studies at AmSchool today, compared to those who follow the traditional education system?

The young people we work with are not preparing to enter the labor market now. We prepare them, indirectly for the business environment. They are now preparing to go to college, either in Romania or anywhere in the world. That’s why I couldn’t make a comparison here. What I know for sure is that compared to the classic education system, in AmSchool there are no “dull”, reproductive assessments, useless things. To successfully complete a semester subject, children need to use their critical thinking. This is a great asset when you want to enter the job market.

At what age are courses like Success Academy recommended?

In Success Academy a young person can come from 11 years old and up to 18-19 years old. We have Junior and Adolescent programs. Personal development programs are essential for their development. For the way he is heading in life. Because, after all, what we do is give them the tools they need to operate autonomously in their personal or professional lives. And there is a great need in this area. We have over 500 children and teenagers we work with every year.

What are the costs of such courses? Both AmSchool and Successs Academy?

At Success Academy we work weekly and the fees are between 1000-2000 euros per year. In AmSchool we work every day and, depending on the level – gymnasium or high school – and the type of program preferred, the monthly fees are between 440 and 890 euros per month.

How many students attend AmSchool programs today?

In the school year 2022-2023 we work with 120 young people enrolled in both programs – middle school and high school. Because we have a principle that says you can’t talk about education since you no longer personally know the young people you work with. But we will not raise more than 200 children.

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