Edu Networks results: the national programme for the transformation of schools has ended, after an investment of 2.9 million Euro and 114 schools involved nationwide

  • 114 schools started, four years ago, the Edu Networks programme

  • Edu Networks comprised 3,600 teachers and 64,000 students

  • The programme rallied 9 educational organisations, who worked together for a collective impact across the schools

  • The Edu Networks expertise will underpin the future programmes of the programme partners

Bucharest, October 23, 2023. Edu Networks, a programme coordinated by AVE (The Association for Values in Education) and implemented together with eight non-profit organisations specialised in education, has reached its end. Carried out over a four-year span (September 2019 – August 2023), the project comprised 114 schools and kindergartens from Romania, placed into nine clusters from nine regions of the country. The project total budget amounted to 2.9 million Euro, invested into interventions of partner organisations with a view to developing school headmasters’ management capabilities, enhancing the teachers’ educational competencies, boosting relevant learning for students, with a focus on developing digital and literacy skillsets. In total, the project had a real impact for 3,600 teachers and 64,000 students and pre-school pupils.

“Although we seem to be at the end of a four-year journey, we are, in fact, at a time of transition that brings along for us and the schools in Romania a new beginning. Edu Networks, a programme co-created by a group of organisations led by AVE, aimed to effect irreversible change in 114 schools, by way of transformation focused on leadership and school management, educational skills for teachers and relevant learning for students. We understood that education does not exclusively strive to provide courses or trainings, but also to create authentic learning experiences. Our end goal is for each school to become a cornerstone and partner for change for other schools. We wish to see that the models and best practices developed within Edu Networks disseminate across the educational community, positively influencing the educational system countrywide”, said Gabi Pascal, the Edu Networks programme manager.

Edu Networks benefitted from investments of 2.9 million Euro exclusively from sponsorships 

The goal of Edu Networks was to bring together, as part of a coordinated effort, 9 educational organisations intent on generating change across the development of schools through systemic and long-lasting organisational transformations and on having a nationwide impact. The schools involved in Edu Networks were organised, on a national level, into nine clusters, keeping in mind the geographic proximity among them: Bacău, Bistrița-Năsăud, Brad, Bucharest-Ilfov, Buzău, Dâmbovița, Galați, Olt and Valea Jiului.

In Brad (Hunedoara county), Bacău and Olt, 12-school clusters were organised, in Bistrița-Năsăud and Dâmbovița areas there were 10-school active clusters, in Buzău and Valea Jiului 13-school clusters were created, whereas 16-school clusters were set up in Galați and București – Ilfov areas. During the last year in the programme, the nine clusters accessed 14 grants amounting to nearly 150,000 Euro to support the transformation processes in schools and getting them used to accessing and managing external resources.

The 100+ schools in the programme followed a complex learning pathway  

Edu Networks was structured based on an architecture that concerned critical intervention tiers, with real benefits for the schools, the students and society, centred on leadership and school management, lowering educational gaps, communication skills and personal effectiveness, experiential learning. Over these four years, the teachers enjoyed personal and professional development by means of accessing resources, training, consultancy, mentoring, professional facilitators and new and modern work tools, as well as work sessions with the local community.

Literacy was a core topic of the programme, and the intervention focused on training the teachers so that they should be able to assess, design and support the development of students’ literacy skills. Using the BRIO Literacy tool, the students were tested before and after the interventions in the Literacy and critical thinking pillar, and the results showed an almost 10-point increase in skills, from a score of 54.84 points in 2021 to 60.43 points in 2022. More than 6,500 educational resources in the literacy field were developed by more than 400 teachers, following their implementation in class and with the mentors’ assistance.

The programme also aimed to develop the teachers’ digital skills, across two action points: the use of digital tools and digital pedagogy (the efficient use, from an education standpoint, of digital solutions in order to support and enhance the teaching, learning and assessment processes in class). Of the 1,000 teachers trained in the digital area, 66 teachers were selected and trained to become educational experts in digital pedagogy, capable to support their colleagues in developing their digital skills. On a school level, teachers meet on a regular basis to learn from colleagues and share resources, practice together the new things learnt before applying them in class, reflect upon the classroom experience and provide mutual support. These communities are hosted by facilitators from among the teachers. 61 teachers graduated the consolidation programme for skills in enabling practice communities with an average assessment grade of 4.5/5. Each teacher organised at least six community meetings, in their own school, over a two-year period.

A 9-NGO alliance with expertise in education for the development of schools in Romania 

The implementation of Edu Networks was done through the alliance of nine organisations from the educational field and with support from the business sector partners. Under AVE’s coordination, the following collaborated aiming to transform the schools: Noi Orizonturi Fundation, OvidiuRo Asociation, Finnish Teacher Training Centre, Romanian Business Leaders, The Romanian Reading and Writing for Critical Thinking Association, Școala de Valori Association, InfinitEdu Association, Teach for Romania Association. Together, the nine organisations created transformation processes in schools across three action points: leadership and school management, educational competencies and relevant learning for students. The expertise acquired throughout the four programme years will underpin the future programmes developed by the partner organisations.