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President Maia Sandu’s message at the UN Transforming Education Summit, in New York

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President of the Republic of Moldova Maia Sandu addressed on 19 September participants of the UN Transforming Education Summit held in New York, according to the Moldovan presidential press service.

„Ladies and gentlemen, Our commitment to the citizens of our country, post-pandemic, is twofold: first, to recover the losses in education, and second, to build a better system based on the valuable lessons we have all learned. We all learned these lessons the hard way. However, we will provide a better education for our children. Ladies and gentlemen, Our small country is currently facing an additional challenge: Russian aggression against neighboring Ukraine. Hundreds of thousands of refugees came to Moldova, and our schools received thousands of Ukrainian children, demonstrating the dedication of our citizens and teachers. Please allow me to honor and praise our dedicated teachers before you.

They demonstrate daily, through actions, that we are indeed a small country with a big heart! As we face these immense challenges, we realize that the cornerstone for future success is fully utilizing online resources and enhancing face-to-face interactions between teachers and students. Pandemic education has taught us all that content transfer is not enough. Online education is not intended to replace, but to complement, traditional, face-to-face education. The truth is that in this way, children also learn what teachers are like, not just what teachers know. Therefore, beyond content, connectivity and devices, the level of children’s involvement in the educational process is essential.

And children’s involvement in education is high, only if education represents a strong social dynamic in our countries, only if teachers are central role models who can inspire and to which our children can aspire. Online, face-to-face, or both, teacher training and the social valorization of teachers are essential to our collective success, and I invite you all to a joint reflection on this fundamental issue. Our transformation efforts aim, since the 2014 reform, to build a high-performing, inclusive, fair, safe, welcoming and healthy learning environment. We have taken a number of technical steps in this direction, but I believe that restoring the moral, intellectual and behavioral authority of teachers is the most important element, along with providing a solid ethical foundation for the entire education system. All efforts will fail if teachers are not recognized for their true social value, and our current major university reform has precisely this objective.

All efforts will fail if, beyond educational content, we fail to provide our children with the tools for sound ethical behavior. In our efforts to transform the teacher’s conditions, we follow three main lines: better training of teachers – with an emphasis on continuous training -, better selection procedures and adequate rewards for their work. We have already made important steps in transforming our education system: the fight against corruption is on our national agenda and we have succeeded in significantly reducing corruption in our education system. An ethical education system is an inclusive education system and we are working hard in this direction. Recently almost all children from residential institutions have been transferred to general education institutions with trained staff. Our Inclusive Education Program 2022-2030 will focus on a multidimensional intervention, by coordinating education, health and social services at all levels of education.

Ladies and gentlemen, An ethical system is a system that, through inclusion, strengthens the cohesion of our societies. Part of our mission is, in my opinion, to leave our children with a more united world, a world where our children cooperate with each other, a world where our teachers cooperate with each other, a world where our diversity is the energy for peace , prosperity, innovation and understanding, a world where leaders talk about education, not conflict. Thank you!”, Maia Sandu said, according to presedinte.md.

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