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The Ideal Higher Education Model for My Country (Moldova)

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OmniPapers Writing Contest - Tacu Elena, "The Ideal Higher Education Model for My Country".

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The Ideal Higher Education Model for My Country (Moldova)

  1. 1. The Ideal Higher Education Model for My Country For the first time since the beginning of the academic year, the classroom is full. The professor smirks under his rich mustache as he passes around the tests. Now, fashionably late, the exam can finally start. As the clock on the desk tick-tocks - bored out of its mind-, the professor observes the students in his “fat cat” manner. There is Anna, who has her tablet out, she is cheating with glaring obviousness – but her name is on the list, with a round number attached to it, so he pays no attention to her; over there is Max, showing no sign of intending to write at all – the nephew of someone important. It is a given that he will ace his exams without writing them. During his stroll, the professor’s eyes selectively notice or ignore those who cheat, depending on whether or not they have made a difference to his wallet or to his social status – nepotism and corruption at its best worst. Have I mentioned that it’s the final state exam? In a system that claims to be of higher education… Corruption, ignorance, and greed ruin this country: they shame its past, risk its future and, turn the present into an ugly parody of itself. In order to bring the population of an entire country to the point of ethical and moral withholding, there must be something wrong with the basic programming of each individual. Hence the logical question – what system concerns itself with programming each individual in part? For those of you who haven’t grasped the answer yet – it’s the education system. To top it all, the higher education system is the exit gate that allows and inadvertently encourages socially destructive behavior in future specialists – doctors, teachers, judges – people that hold decisions and lives in their hands. In my country, the higher education system, as it is in practice, is flawed to the point of self ridicule. Ergo, ridiculous reality is my starting point. I shall plant my feet in it firmly and attempt to rise to an ideal model, that would fit the people and the country, while, hopefully, reanimating the comatose body of their dignity. My model could be applied in an ideal world, where steady actions follow bright ideas and are generated by a keen social awareness. Logically – an ideal model finds its full expression in an ideal world, so we shall play pretend for this essay that the world is ideal and thus ready for my paradigm. To put it simply, I would change the existing system by managing both its structure and its content. I would begin with a step back, and three steps forward. The step back concerns itself with undoing what has been done, and the next three - with defragmenting the system from inside by affecting three of its main parts – admission, curricula/campus life, and government involvement. The step back. In 2005, Moldova followed the European lead and adhered to the Bologna Education System. One of the drawbacks of this action was that the period of study was shortened in many fields. Five years became three. However, the material that amounted to five years of study was forced into the box shaped space of three years, which resulted into a quality
  2. 2. decrease in specialists. You can’t do that to a people used to take its time with everything – the previous system was more befitting the Moldovans. Admission. In the present model, students are admitted to the university only with the Baccalaureate document at hand. There is a debate about whether or not to leave the Baccalaureate. I would leave it because it is a standardized test for 12 years of study. However, I would not let it be the main way of accepting someone into higher education institutions. Some of these institutions, i.e. State University of Physical Education and Sport, offer those who haven’t passed one of the Baccalaureates the opportunity to be admitted as Year Zero Students. I would extend this option for all state institutions, with the condition that the failed exam is not directly related to the chosen field. Secondly, I would add a university entry test (the absence of which is unforgivable in the present system) and a required motivation letter. For fields with the most direct social impact - such as pedagogy, medicine, security - personal interviews should be held with the applicants, in which trained professionals should give their expertise regarding the psychological adequacy of the future students. In addition to these, I would implement a reform on a government level, namely the Job Requirement Planning System. This would be a law introducing the country to a planned Higher Education. It would correspond to the factual and actual needs of the society. The needs would be translated into figures after a state regulated analysis of the current situation, statistics and prognosis in all domains. In fact, statistic shows that the most popular chosen field for a license degree is economics. Nevertheless, judging from reality, we’ve got a Blind-leading- the-blind situation on our hands, because the economy in the Republic of Moldova finds itself in an alarming state, despite the foreign financial support. Why does so much money from the budget get wasted for financing an inefficient and large “army” of economists? The second most popular domain is Law. Anyone can grasp the inefficiency concerning Law enforcement. Perhaps the reason is that Law should not be enforced, but rather it ought to be comprehended. The fact is, in Moldova, legislations are good only on paper (sadly, as so many other things). Therefore, it is irrational to fund and allow the existence of so many law graduates if they either go unemployed, or are impotent in making the Law System function properly. These are only two examples that illustrate the necessity of my reform. It would embody the economical principle of demand and supply in the higher education system. Naturally, the student selection would be strictly monitored by specially created state organs. Curricula and campus life. In this scenario, the curricula would be generally adjusted at the discretion of the university staff; however, some subjects would be mandatory for all institutions. These include: - Physical Education three times a week for the entirety of the studies term (the general level of health and fitness among youths is disconcerting, and the new generations are weaker, more prone to disease and allergies than the older ones),
  3. 3. - Social Studies for the first year (which would encompass the philosophy that the work of one should benefit the lives of many: the musketeers’ principle – “all for one and one for all”), - First Aid (mandatory practical course in the first year, reasoned by the distressing level of ignorance amongst not only young people, but also the more seasoned generations) Exams would be 90% oral, to discourage cheating, which is a nation-wide disease in my country, and it starts with school and the unhealthy emphasis of academic success over knowledge and personal growth. Still, written tests would remain in use, with anyone caught cheating being expelled without warning. During exam sessions, students would be allowed to use especially arranged “napping” rooms, due to the stressful demands of that period. Teachers suspected of corruption would have to pass a lie detector – as drastic as it sounds, I do not see another solution to eliminate the habit of giving and accepting bribes. Involvement in government. This step includes two aspects: inner and outer government. The first one relates to self-governing inside the institution by a group made primarily of students, something resembling an active Student Body that would be involved directly in the life of the institution. The second one is bolder, as it deals with the Ministry of Education and how students and their ideas can improve it. Every four years, an organized group of proactive students and professors, with ideas and prepared projects, would be allowed to temporarily replace the Ministry workers and deal with actual problems. Most ministers that create and implement laws in the domain of education have never actually worked in the field and are acquainted with their problems only in theory. This experiment opens the door to change. As you can see, my system targets the main problems with the present education model: it tinkers with what has potential, and butchers what needs to go away: cheating, corruption and the herd mentality. It deals with a more personalized and demand based admission method, and a partially controlled curricula. Plus, visionary students and professors are permitted to play a key role in rounding and perfecting the higher education system. All in all, my model is one that arises from belief in the redeeming qualities of my people, and the wishful thinking of once witnessing an ideal system at work.

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