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Photo: Centrul de Evaluare și Analize Educaționale
25 %
FROM ALL THE STUDENTS
are studying in techology and innovation disciplines. These numbers fell sharply from the 90s, when 68% were studying in the area of techology and innovation.

Romanian American-Foundation works with teachers, schools, and business and NGO partners to develop programs that provide students of all ages with the right skills and knowledge needed for the development of the high-added value and innovative tech sector.

Technology and innovation have become more and more important for Romania’s economic development of late. Both on the domestic and international market, there are increasing opportunities for Romanian entrepreneurs to develop and sell products and services in various economic fields. Concurrently, the more companies advance in sectors with higher added value, the more skilled and knowledgeable their employees must be.

At present, however, graduates of technical universities are little or not at all familiarized with product development or market mechanisms. There are also few academic programs aimed at preparing students for economic fields with a higher added value. Those who become entrepreneurs have limited access to business support and knowledge services.

As far as secondary education is concerned, lack of performance in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) has long-lasting negative effects. Results in international tests are below average and place Romania very far from advanced countries in the field.

RAF programs are focused on two important areas:

  • Contributing to an increased performance and interest in STEM secondary education, so that more and more young people are prepared for a career in technology and innovation.
  • Supporting a market-oriented university education system whose graduates can become entrepreneurs and employees creating added value.

PROGRAMS AND STRATEGIES

Entrepreneurship in higher education

We work together with technical universities in Romania to provide students with an opportunity to gain a set of technical and soft skills that help them develop their entrepreneurial potential, understand market mechanisms and think innovatively.

Innovation Labs
Innovation Labs is a University based pre-accelerator program designed to expose students interested in technology and entrepreneurship to the rigors of developing their ideas for products and services. The program is currently hosted in five university centers nationally including Bucharest, Cluj, Iași, Sibiu, and Timișoara and serves student teams from smaller universities from around the country.
Entrepreneurial University
The Entrepreneurial University program provides dynamic universities with small grant opportunities to develop entrepreneurial education and innovation activities and events. Through the program Junior Achievement will expand their JA Practice Entrepreneurship Program to five universities centers providing those students with valuable entrepreneurship education programming. Lastly, the program will assist university hubs to draw local business in developing new opportunities for students.
Fulbright-RAF Scholar Award
The Fulbright-RAF Scholar Award is a nationwide program that exposes Romanian professors from technical universities to a U.S. university-based experience in developing and integrating entrepreneurship education. Those experiences have broadened the entrepreneurial ecosystem and translated in numerous opportunities for Romanian students including new entrepreneurship courses, business plan competitions, specialized workshops with local entrepreneurs, and changes to the delivery of class curricula. 
STEM Education

In secondary education, RAF has intervened to promote teaching methods meant to stimulate both the students’ interest in science as well as their critical thinking and creativity. The long-term stake for the foundation is to contribute to the formation of a new generation of graduates who are able to take development opportunities in technology and innovation and match the requirements of an increasingly competitive market.

Științescu Fund
This program supports setting up a local funding mechanism for education micro-initiatives aimed at raising children’s interest in sciences.
Fizica Altfel (Physics Curriculum Reform)
This program was designed to strengthen the teaching of physics through investigative methods.
After piloting and successfully testing the methods, the program entered the expansion and consolidation phase.
Teaching the Future
The program pilots an intervention aimed at supporting computer science teachers to adopt project-based teaching strategies for their class and to create active-learning environments in their schools.
Code Kids – Coding for Kids in Libraries
The program aims to assist children in rural areas and small towns to learn basic coding attending coding clubs activities in public libraries.
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