Constitution of the
Republic of Moldova

Address by Maia Sandu, President of the Republic of Moldova, at the Transforming Education Summit, New York, 2022

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our commitment towards the citizens of our country, after the pandemics, is two fold: first to recover the educational losses and, second, to build a better system based on the valuable lessons that we all learned.

We all learned those lessons the hard way, yet, yes, we will provide better education to our children.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Our small country is currently facing an additional challenge: the Russian aggression on neighbouring Ukraine. It sent hundreds of thousands of refugees to Moldova and our schools welcomed thousands of Ukrainian children, proving the dedication of our citizens and teachers. Please allow me to honour and praise our dedicated teachers in front of you all.
They prove daily, through actions, that we are, indeed, a small country with a big heart!

While tackling these immense challenges, we realised that the cornerstone for future success is to best take advantage of the on-line resources together with improving the face-to-face interaction between teachers and pupils.

Education in pandemics taught us all that content-transfer is not everything. Online education is not meant to replace, but to complement traditional, face-to-face education. Truth is that children also learn what teachers are, not only what teachers know, therefore, beyond content, connectivity and devices, crucial is the level of children’s engagement in the education process.

And children’s engagement in education is high, only if education is a powerful societal dynamic in our countries, only if teachers are central inspirational and aspirational models for our children. On-line, face-to-face or both, teacher training and teacher societal valuation is key to our collective success and I call you all for a common reflection on this fundamental issue.

Our transformation efforts aim, ever since our 2014 reform, to build a performant, inclusive, equitable, safe, welcoming and healthy learning environment.

We took a number of technical steps in this direction, yet I believe that re-establishing the moral, intellectual, and behavioural authority of the teachers is the single most important element, together with ensuring a solid ethical ground for the entire education system.

All efforts will fail if teachers are not recognised at their true societal value and our current major university reform has exactly this goal.

All efforts will fail if, beyond educational content, we fail in delivering to our children the tools for a solid ethical behaviour.

In our efforts to transform the teacher condition, we follow three guidelines: better teacher training - with emphasis on continuous training, better selection procedures and appropriate reward for their work.

We have already made important steps in transforming our education system: fighting against corruption is on top of our national agenda and we have managed to significantly reduce 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 were transferred to general educational institutions with trained personnel. Our 2022-2030 Inclusive Education Program will focus on multifocal intervention through coordination of the 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 to our children a more cohesive world, a world in which our children cooperate with each other, a world in which our teachers cooperate with each other, a world in which our diversity is the energy for peace, prosperity, innovation and understanding, a world in which leaders talk about education, not about conflicts.

Thank you!