On Monday, October 5, 2020, on the occasion of UNESCO International Education and Teacher’s Day, the C-Edu Education Cluster was launched in Cluj-Napoca – the first ecosystem effort in the field of education in Romania. This became a collaborative working tool to answer the great questions and challenges in the field of education of the XXI century, accentuated in recent months by the COVID19 pandemic, to increase the quality of access to lifelong learning. Founded by six universities from Cluj, Cluj County School Inspectorate, Transylvania College Foundation, Cluj County Council, and Cluj-Napoca City Hall, the education cluster’s mission is to the creation of an inclusive platform of co-design and cross-sectoral approach towards the community’s needs regarding education. C-Edu also encourages the creation of collaborative processes between the public and private sectors, between administrators, learning institutions, companies, and non-governmental organizations that allow better integration of young people into the labor market, once their educational path is completed.
The event was attended by Emil Boc, mayor of Cluj-Napoca, Marius Mânzat, vice-president of the Cluj County Council, Mircea Abrudean, prefect of Cluj County, Marinela Marc, general school inspector at ISJ Cluj, Anca Buzoianu, rector of the University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Iuliu Hațieganu”, Cornel Cătoi, rector of the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Daniela Popoescu, vice-rector of the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Mara Rațiu, vice-rector of the University of Arts and Design, Nelida Nedelcuț, vice-rector of the “Gheorghe Dima” Music Academy, Christian Săcărea, vice-chancellor of Babeș– Bolyai University and Simona Baciu – founder of Transylvania College Foundation.
Along with them, the members delegated to the working group of the education cluster of each member entity, were the representatives of the companies and non-governmental organizations that joined the education cluster. As well as two students from Cluj, representative of the young pupils and students at the event. On the occasion of the launch of the C-Edu Education Cluster, the founding members planted a maple tree inside the Regional Center for Creative Industries in Cluj Innovation Park within the “Green Cluj” program, thus laying the foundations of the Education Park. Such a tree was also planted by the prefect of Cluj County, Mircea Abrudean, as a representative of the Romanian Government, as well as by two young students from Cluj, on behalf of the Romanian Presidency.
The main role of the education cluster in the local and regional innovation ecosystem is to create a platform for collaboration and dialogue centered on education. This encourages participation and the use of collaborative tools that can seek solutions to the problems we face, along with many other communities during this period of ensuring access to lifelong learning.
According to its founders, the purpose of the C-Edu education cluster is, “to act as a space for dialogue and collaboration between the main actors involved in education, with the aim of improving the access of pupils and students to educational and formative structures, to increase the quality of educational processes and to have constant connective education with the economic environment. C-EDU will support the intersection of vocational training with research and innovation, in order to link education to the dynamics of social change.”
“The C-EDU education cluster assumes the concept of an innovative entity in terms of human capital formation adapted to the innovations and technological changes that condition educational development. The vision of C-EDU is that of a connected and competent educational ecosystem, which puts the student at the center of the educational processes, providing him/her with the tools and skills that will transform them into a competent, empathetic, and active participant in the structuring of the community”, explained by the articles of incorporation of the cluster.
“It is an extraordinary initiative, the first of its kind in Romania. In Cluj-Napoca, we are used to the partnership between the administration, the academic sector, NGOs, and companies for community projects. Now, this partnership is also materializing in the field of education. From the viewpoint of the Romanian Government, “we send you and offer you all the support we are capable of, because education is a priority and must be supported at all levels”, explained the prefect of Cluj County, Mircea Abrudean. All of the founding members of the education cluster explained their motivation to create this associative structure in order to put it at the service of the needs of education in Cluj-Napoca and beyond.Cluj-Napoca City Hall
“In order to serve the needs of the community regarding access to education and learning, it is important to make a community effort. What we are witnessing today is a historic period that requires vertical changes in the way we relate to education. This year’s COVID19 pandemic has only amplified this need for change and made it more consequent. C-Edu is a response of our community, created in the midst of a pandemic and proof that we understand that the answers to our needs are more easily found together. Through the education cluster, our community will be able to maintain a very effective dialogue with the European level of decision and implementation of the recently launched European Agenda for Education – European Education Area, which has the objectives of the European Union for the period 2020-2025. We will also be able to work together in the context of the European Hub for Digital Education, which is designed as a space for collaboration and encouragement of synergies between the European political level of decision-making, the European Commission, and the regional and local actors relevant in achieving the objectives of digitizing access to education, of creating a national consultation network and strengthening the dialogue between the private and public sectors”, Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca..Cluj County Council:
“The event that we mark now is one that comes from our very string of Cluj people, the Transylvanians who gave the nation the “Transylvanian School,” said the president of CJ Alin Tișe.Gheorghe Dima Music Academy:
“In the city of Cluj-Napoca, there is a high-performance network of clusters that is open to cooperation with successful entities in the country, the European Union, and with the countries in the region. A cluster on education will support and promote the renowned educational environment of the city, creating a platform for learning and applied practice built on tradition, openness, and development. The creation of a regional cluster on the topic of education represents an opportunity, but also a challenge for the Gheorghe Dima National Academy of Music, by facilitating the dialogue and collaboration between the pre-university environment along with the university one and the professional institutions. This will help facilitate the configuration of an interinstitutional curricular offer, which will develop transversal competencies in dedicated training programs. The connection of educational structures with professional ones, as well as the support of educational initiatives and projects by the business environment, will imprint an applicative character that will be able, in the future, to value the potential of young people in training. This exchange of information in the educational and cultural field, the organization of interdisciplinary programs, as well as the implementation of innovative projects in the field, will create the premises for the connection of the education in Cluj to the rapid dynamics of the change demanded by the transformations of the moment. We want this network of institutions to become a model of educational approach that supports professional training through applied practice, research and innovation” said Nelida Nedelcuț, vice-rector of the Ghoerghe Dima Music Academy in Cluj.University of Art and Design Cluj:
“The accession of the University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca (UAD) in its initiative to set up an education cluster is based on the following arguments:
-the de facto connection of the pre-university education along with the university one to carry out projects that follow the entire educational route of children and young people;
-the integration of the educational system in Cluj in the sectoral pluri gear of the Cluj community will be obtained by setting up close cooperation with the local authorities and the business environment;
-close and coherent collaboration of the educational system in Cluj will come about with the initiatives in the non-governmental sector in order to continuously improve the quality of formal education in relation to the non-formal one.
UAD is convinced that the establishment of the C-EDU education cluster will contribute decisively to achieving the above-mentioned objectives. Moreover, such a cluster will certainly constitute an efficient tool of continuous innovation at the level of the Cluj community, given its cross-sectoral composition”, explained Mara Rațiu, vice-rector of UAD.
“UBB is delighted to be part of this educational initiative because it fits our mission. Not only are we actors involved in the education of young people, but also trainers, educators and teachers in Romania. We are true to our motto “tradition and excellence”. The tradition in education is reflected from the long history of this university, being over 400 years. At the same time, the excellence is reflected in the quality of the educational activities, in the research activity and the partnerships that we have. I hope this will be reflected in the partnership that is announced today, in a space of creative industries. UBB wants excellence to be found in all the activities we will develop within this cluster because, in the global world in which we grow, this type of partnership is needed to develop into a true pole of innovation” explained the vice-rector of UBB, Christian Săcărea.University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Iuliu Hațieganu”
“The educational activity within our university is characterized, in addition to traditional methods and interprofessional education, by lifelong learning and internationalization. For this reason, the creation of an educational cluster can only bring benefits and added value, both for the academic community and for the entire community of Cluj, as well as, bring together the main institutions in the field of education and private companies and for the interest of pupils and students. The University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Iuliu Hațieganu” Cluj-Napoca supports and strives to be involved in this innovative approach with the thought that we will be able to offer our expertise for the training of young people in Cluj. As well, we will benefit from new opportunities for the development of our activity. Together, we will contribute greatly to the formation and improvement of the human resource – the most important intellectual and professional resource”, said Dr. Anca Dana Buzoianu, rector of “Iuliu Hațieganu” University of Medicine and Training.University of Agricultural Sciences Veterinary Medicine:
“USAMV Cluj-Napoca will be involved both academically and practically in C-Edu’s mission to train and heighten the student’s ability to actively participate in the development of society from a technological, innovative, and cultural point of view. Thus, we hope to strengthen Cluj as a pole of excellence in research, innovation, and development. The history and tradition of over 150 years of our university, as well as the modern educational strategies that currently guide it, represent our guarantee of involvement in achieving the objectives of the C-Edu Education Cluster” said Cornel Cătoi, Rector of USAMV Cluj.Technical University of Cluj-Napoca:
“The future is in the eyes of the one who looks away. The Technical University of Cluj-Napoca joins this initiative in response to the mission and takes on the role of being a promoter of education in society, and implicitly in the Community of Cluj. As a member of Cluster structures, we believe that this education cluster will manage to integrate and mobilize sustained efforts to capitalize on the capacity of the parties for long-term results’ ‘ said Daniela Popescu, pre-rector of UTCN Cluj.Cluj County School Inspectorate:
“Why an Education Cluster in Cluj-Napoca? Perhaps because it is a city where the municipality pays increased attention to education, through all the projects and programs that it finances. As well, it is a city of multiculturalism, which performs in many fields of activity and has top universities that are attractive, not only for high school graduates in the country, but, for many young people from abroad, which has the best performing pre-university education in the country. In addition, all of the decision-makers of today understand that, only together, the pre-university education, public and private and the academic and business environment (with the support of the authorities) can contribute to the development of collective projects. This will be beneficial for everything that means educational environment, including economically, because only an education connected to the labor market, which meets the needs of the community, is a quality education.
Why on October 5th? Because it is the most appropriate day to launch the first education cluster at the national level. This is the date on which the International Education Day is celebrated, a day when it is appropriate, more than ever, to meditate on the importance of education in the training of children and young people. As well, it is increasingly obvious to have the need for continuous personal and professional training and development. Platon said that “Education is the most beautiful gift that man can acquire”, and this Educational Cluster set up in Cluj-Napoca is to offer the Cluj community reasons for satisfaction through all the activities carried out in support of the direct and indirect beneficiaries of education!” concluded Marinela Marc, General School Inspector, Cluj County School InspectorateTransylvania College Foundation:
Transylvania College Foundation joins the initiative to establish the C-EDU Education Cluster, integrating their mission into its own. Born in the citadel of education, Cluj-Napoca, the C-EDU Cluster will become an element of coagulation of all forces that make education strong and ready to form the youth of the XXI century.
Twelve Maple trees were planted today and will grow, strong and towering, over the years to come, exactly as we all want our education to look like. Together we will make this dream come true. Today, the founders, together with the business community and the civil society in Cluj, signed a pact by which we say “YES” to modern education and the support of tomorrow’s leaders. Every young person has the right to be a leader who starts their path of life with confidence and courage because of the education we offer them.
Education is connected and collaborative, and the role of the C-EDU Cluster is to connect professional structures with educational ones while having the visibility and impact we want. Through this association, we want to support a new generation of young people who will be hired to contribute, support and develop the society in which we will live. Planting these twelve maples will become the symbol of growth, trust, and collaboration for education. I am sure that this is only the beginning and the founding members will assume their role and contribution to the development of modern education, adapted to our century” said Simona Baciu, founder of the Happy Teachers program for Romania and Transylvania College Foundation.
More details on the European Commission’s efforts on the future of education: