How Moldova’s Academic Community Prepares Students for the Internet Age – An Interview with Dr. Victor Besliu
February 4, 2011 Leave a comment
On 2 Feb 2011 we met with Dr. Victor Besliu, Chairman of the of Automation and Information Technology faculty at Moldova Technical University. Dr. Besliu is a graduate of the Moscow Technical University, and has many strong ideas and recommendations for how Moldova can make students and graduates more competitive not only in the Moldova ICT community, but also the global community.
The interview was conducted mainly in Romanian language, with translation done by Ion Stanciu. You can listen to the entire audio recording of the interview in Romanian HERE.
Main topics discussed during the interview included;
1. His opinions on Moldova’s eReadiness
- He conducted extensive research on the topic during 2005 and 2009
- Moldova still has only a couple of universities with curriculum focusing on ICT (information and communications technologies)
- Moldova Technical University (MTU) does offer a major in computer science
- MTU has around 500 graduates from the program each year
- Moldova currently has approximately 1500 professional, qualified ICTR specialists working in government and private industry
- He considers the quality of Moldovan graduates quite high, as most are actually being recruited to work in foreign countries following university
2. His opinions on how well Moldova is meeting the needs of children, preparing them to function and succeed in an Internet and computer-enabled world.
- Children at a young age need access to ICT tools, and are able to quickly absorb the technology
- If children are given access to computers and Internet too early, they could run a risk of slipping into a virtual world, and not being able to function correctly in social environments
3. On distance education and eLearning
- Moldova currently has no legal framework for eLearning, meaning formal credits towards degree programs are not available through online education
- The academic community has begun discussion and planning to consider the question of incorporating eLearning into the curriculum, however that is still an open topic
- There has not historically been a culture of lifelong learning in Moldova
- Historically paper (degrees and diplomas) has been given higher status and more respect than experience or knowledge
- Some face-to-face interaction in the education process is important
4. On adult education
- In the old days of the Soviet Union, there were age restrictions on persons entering degree programs (35)
- Today, in Moldova, there are no age restrictions, allowing any person with prerequisite qualifications to apply for formal university programs
- Many students from foreign countries apply to, and are accepted, into Moldova’s university system
5. On how to make the Moldova education system more capable in meeting the needs of all students
- Politicians must understand the role of communications, computers, and ICT education in the future of Moldova
- Increase educator salaries and benefits to the level being a teacher in Moldova is an attractive profession
- Many instructors are already working in private companies part time, allowing them to not only increase their income to the point of survival, but also to keep on top of new and emerging technologies
- They are changing the university curriculum every 2~3 years based on technology and emerging ICT trends
- Provide more opportunities for student internships in local companies to give them more practical knowledge of the concepts and theory learned in classrooms
- Continue tracks within the ICT faculty that allow students to take courses to the degree level taught entirely in a foreign language, including French and English
- Continue to emphasize beginning Internet and computer exposure into education system from the beginning – young students need to develop tacit knowledge of this technology and become computer/Internet literate not only to function in the workplace, but also in normal society
On a positive note, Dr. Besliu acknowledged many of MTU’s graduates are now well-positioned in Moldova companies, and that trend is expected to continue. In addition, Many Moldovan expatriates are now returning home, further reinforcing Moldova’s ability to support development of a knowledge economy.
Please check Moldova technical University’s website for more information on their programs and activities.
Audio file for entire interview (in Romanian language) HERE