Andreea Dula, a member of the Mindbusters Debate Club, gave an interview to the daily newspaper Zi de Zi, in which she presented information about the projects and achievements of the club she belongs to. Also, the young graduate of the “Alexandru Papiu Ilarian” National College from Târgu Mureș shares her experience during the conference “What is the purpose of the education system?”, which she participated in this year. At the same time, Andreea Dula expresses her opinion on the Romanian education system and presents the expectations she has from teachers in the coming years of studies.
Reporter: Please give us a brief introduction. What are you studying? What is your career path?
Andrea Dula: My name is Dula Andreea and I graduated from the “Alexandru Papiu Ilarian” National College, Natural Sciences profile intensively in English in the summer of this year. I am looking forward to acquiring new knowledge and experiences in the Romanian university environment, as from autumn I will start my studies at the “Babeș-Bolyay” University in Cluj-Napoca at the Faculty of European Studies, specializing in International Relations and European Studies with teaching in English. I find the diversity in a multicultural society to be fascinating and above all, particularly beautiful. So, I want to have a career in a space as dynamic as possible, which will give me the opportunity to know as many cultures, customs and traditions as possible, but especially, to interact with a multitude of different individuals, with various ideas and concepts. At the moment, a career in diplomacy would be my dream, but as we evolve, grow, our trajectory can change with the things we learn or discover, both about ourselves and the universe around us. So I can’t say with certainty that my answer will be the same in ten years, maybe even five years, but right now, this is the path I want to take and the one I think suits me best.
Rep.: As a member of the Mindbusters Debate Club, please introduce us to the club’s projects and achievements.
AD: The Mindbusters Papiu debating club had a particularly busy year, with numerous achievements. My colleagues were truly extraordinary, a talented team, open and friendly, but above all hardworking. Despite the fact that many members spend hours preparing for school subjects, devoting their time to understanding and deepening difficult concepts, they engage and even excel in this field, having impressive performances in national and international competitions. Under the coordination of teacher Stoica Briena, who motivated and supported us, transmitting our passion for debates and constructive conversations, we adapted even in the context of the pandemic. Moreover, you constantly supported us and encouraged us to be consistent and ambitious. In the previous school year alone, club members participated in competitions organized in collaboration with Horace Mann High School New York, an international competition organized by the Ministry of Education and Sports of Japan, and an international tournament in Prague, with excellent results. They took place online. However, we also participated physically, in the county stage of the National Olympiad of argumentation, debate and critical thinking “Debating Youth”, where we obtained the first prize, qualifying for the national stage, and a former teammate participated in the international session of a program particularly extensive, the European Youth Parliament, which aims at both debates and intercultural interactions in Ryga, Latvia.
Rep.: During the conference “What is the purpose of the education system?” what was the subject that impressed you the most?
AD: During the Romanian Business Leaders Summit, we debated the following statement: “The absolute priority of the Romanian Education system should be the preparation of graduates for the labor market”. I had this opportunity thanks to the teacher Stoica Briena, as I was also invited as her teammate. The two of us represented the opposition in this debate, the “contra” team, and we had arguments against the above statement. Both the discussion at the event itself and the information I discovered during the research process completely changed my perspective on the purpose of the education system, or the purpose of education in general. I have to admit that initially my views were completely in agreement with the “pro” team, believing that school should create people ready for the job market, and I was certainly not the only person with this opinion. However, I came to realize that the first perspective could be considered simplistic because it did not consider the moral implications. The issue is far too vast to be able to express it in a few lines, even too broad for just a few concise arguments. But a telling quote from “The Wealth of Good Education” by Teodor Baconschi, a book that Mrs. Briena recommended to me, was what impressed me the most: “An Ivy League university, Columbia, is also sought after for its core curriculum. At the college level, the student (… ) does not get his degree until he has gone through the Great Texts, from Homer, the Bible and Plato, to James Joyce (…) At Harvard, (…) any undergraduate attends classes, writes essays and defends exams in eight cognitive areas considered relevant for his complete education: aesthetics and analytical interpretation, culture and faith, empirical and mathematical reasoning, ethical judgment, life sciences (…). Also in America, future doctors enter the specialty school only after obtaining the Bachelor of Arts degree: you can’t take care of a person therapeutically without knowing what his history is.” This perspective proposes a human approach, which perceives man as a whole and aims to develop the moral fiber, which aims to prepare the individual to live in harmony with himself and with the society to which he is called to contribute. According to this perspective, the person is not just a tool meant to be processed in school for various needs, the ultimate goal is not to produce a salable product on the labor market, instead, the student is what he is meant to be, a beneficiary of the educational system.
Rep.: In what way did this conference influence you in relation to your educational institution?
AD: I believe that I have come to understand more deeply, perhaps, the perspective that some teaching staff have on the Romanian education system. Otherwise, my feelings remained unchanged. I believe that my teachers were people who were very passionate about your subject, who tried to instill this passion in us through different methods.
Rep.: What concrete solutions do you propose to improve the education system?
AD: I am not an expert in the field, just an 18 year old person who has completed 12 classes. Of course, over the years there have been aspects of the education system that I have liked and others that have displeased me. One thing, however, is certain: the Romanian educational system represents a difficult problem, which directly influences both the lives of students and the lives of teachers. Due to the vastness of this topic and my lack of experience I do not feel that I can pronounce or propose concrete solutions, I can only encourage people to be curious, ask questions and learn as many skills and knowledge as possible.
Rep.: What expectations do you have from the teachers in the coming years of studies?
AD: I wish with all my heart that my future teachers will be open, communicative, like the ones in high school, passionate about the subject they teach and dedicated.
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