Politeia starts from a simple idea: we believe that every human being, every child, has a great potential: to live a happy life and to contribute for a better society. We believe that we would all benefit more if each and every human being would have the possibility to do what they can do best and what makes them happiest. Most importantly, we believe that every human being deserves a real chance to reach their potential in life. A just, free, and equal society cannot exist without an excellent education. For this reason, we are fighting for an educational environment in which all children are treated equally, in which every child is helped to identify and surpass his difficulties of understanding, and is being offered complete freedom in developing himself. We hope to build a society of responsible, capable, and honest people.
School Dropout Rates
Romania has one of the highest rates of school dropout in the European Union, over 18% of students abandoning school every year;
Low PISA exams results
According to the most recent PISA examinations, almost 40% of 15 year-old students have major difficulties in reading, writing and basic calculations
Low National Exams results
Almost 30% of students who have sat the National Evaluation exam in 2015 did not manage to get an average grade over 5;
Investiția insuficientă în educație
Romania allocates, per student, the lowest budget out of all European countries
The report “Cost of Insufficient Investment in Education in Romania”, complied by UNICEF in 2014, proves that investing in education is investing in human capital that the Romanian economy desperately needs. From this report, we learn the following things:
- One extra year of school leads to an increase in income of 8-9%, an 8% decrease in the risk of developing some health conditions, an 8% decrease in the risk of unemployment, and a significant increase in the chances of finding employment – 16% for Roma people and 5.6% for non-Roma people;
- An increase in the proportion of university graduates from 13.6% to 19% in 2025 would lead to an increase of approximately 3.6% of the GDP;
- Even a slight increase in the number of secondary education graduates (from 58% to 59.7% in 2025) would generate a 0,52% increase of the GDP;
- Roughly, until 2025, the loss generated by an insufficient investment in education would be of 12 to 17 billion euros, the equivalent of 7-9% of 2015’s GDP.
Politeia represents an attempt at understanding Romania’s education issues, and at offering support to those who wish to learn, discover and develop independently. We acknowledge the potential of each child, the parents’ care for their children and the work and the effort put in by teachers in the educational process.
Politeia is aiming to support all three groups, by offering courses which are complementary to school activity. The subjects we teach are the traditional ones, present in the national curriculum. The approach we have, however, is different: in school, the teacher has an inflexible structure, which forces him or her to focus on memorizing information. The student is subject to a process of continuous evaluation of his or her knowledge, having little time to develop his or her critical thinking abilities.
Without assuming any prior knowledge or abilities from students, we develop courses which have as a main purpose developing critical thinking. Thus, we are trying to cover a part of the essential elements of the subjects studied, keeping a structure which allows us to adapt to the needs of the participants. The essence of our courses lays in the favourite question of researchers, little children, and greatest minds: “why?”. Therefore, the first lesson we teach is to transform curiosity in understanding and in an ever-growing desire to know more and more. Then, we treat each course as a story. A story where the participants and the tutors become characters and where adventures become challenges with learning outcomes. We attempt to make every newly introduced element seem like a necessity of the story, so the participants can experience its relevance and its importance directly.
From a structural perspective, our courses are based on two elements which give us the much-needed freedom to adapt to the developmental needs of participants: small groups – ideally 6 students per tutor, up to a maximum of 12 students in a group coordinated by or or two tutors – and modules with a duration of 100-120 minutes. By contrast, in a traditional classroom in the Romanian State education system, a teacher has about 25-30 students and only 50 minutes for each module.
This allows us to focus on the involvement of students and the development of their abilities, the accumulation of information being secondary. Thus, we can develop our courses in an interactive manner, with a focus on communication and curiosity. Furthermore, the structure makes it easier to make sure that every student participates actively and constantly during classes. As for content, we develop our courses according to the national and international school curriculum. The tutors benefit from significant editorial freedom along the course, with the purpose of allowing them to adapt to the needs of the participants.
Politeia is an educational NGO funded in October 2014, whose main purpose is improving education in Romania. Our main activity consists in conceptualizing and offering free classes to middle school and high school students in Bucharest and surrounding areas. Our courses cover traditional subjects – Mathematics, Romanian Language and Literature, English Language, Philosophy, Civics Education etc. – and are oriented towards developing critical thinking. The foundation of our activity is represented by the following principles: using the Socratic Method, where possible, interactive teaching, intense participation, small group teaching – a tutor for every 6 students.
During our first fifteen months since being founded, Politeia has organized 18 courses, in which over 150 students participated:
- Six political philosophy courses for high school students;
- Three Romanian Language and Literature courses, three Maths courses, five English courses, one Sciences course for primary and middle school students.
So far, we have received very good feedback, both students and parents declaring themselves pleased with the way we organized the project and the progress made as a consequence of participating. Moreover, nine of the participants in the Political Philosophy courses have become volunteers for Politeia and have brought other five friends to our team. Their enthusiasm is what keeps us motivated to continue, confirming that our activity contributes to a beneficial change of education in Romania.