Varujan Pambuccian is a bit too zambaccian  

Thrown (Ţâpat) in , ,

Finland, the country who is light years ahead of Romania in education, is moving away from structured learning and a Romanian Senator opines that it's BS, which, in our view, makes him a 'zambaccian' or a person who is incapable to understand his mistakes, nevermind assume them, a person whose mindset prevents them from accepting new, revolutionary ideas. nastase_zambaccian

Let me start with a necessary disclaimer on Armenian names. This possible confusion interests me because when I put my name as “Zamolxian” in some opt-in form, I started receiving Armenian diaspora literature in my mail.

The above names are Armenian names and by using that rhyme I am in no way judging Armenian people collectively (like ctp does with Gypsies) or “extrapolating” a trait or fault from one member of the group to the entire group, not because I’m afraid or politically correct, but rather because that would be dumb. I also do not doubt for a second that Armenians were subjected to a genocide that inspired Hitler (w-genocide). However, I think that the rhyme is funny, is a good way to introduce these issues and that is why I am using it. In short, I disagree with Mr Pambuccian, a Romanian politician (w-pambuccian), on a narrow issue and with Mr Vosganian (w-vosganian) on several. I use the word ‘zambaccian’ with a new meaning because that meaning came about since Adrian Nastase has commenced his misguided attempt to present his own version of reality – “misguided” because it failed to convince me and probably many others, not necessarily because he is guilty as charged – on a website using that name. Vosganian appears there because he steps on Nastase’s path of prosecution and pointless manoeuvring. Last but not least, I tend to sometimes confuse the two aforementioned politicians. I don’t think it’s fair for Mr Pambuccian to suffer blowback from Mr Vosganian’s actions.

With Mr Vosganian I agree that prosecutorial fervour has gone a little too far. However, that does not necessarily mean that Ms Vosganian himself is innocent – I just don’t know.

Mr Vosganian appears in the Romanian press colored guilty.
  • he resigned the Economy Minister function back in October 2013 (hn-vvec)
  • he asked his colleagues in the Senate to block the public prosecutor request to lift his immunity, managing to shed tears in his discourse; they complied on February 12, 2015 (hn-vvsen)
  • he subsequently resigns from PNL on February 13, 2015 (hn-vvpnl)
  • he publishes on his blog an article stating that “society cannot evolve punitively, only preventively” – March 20, 2015 (vosganian-punitie)
  • when the Senate once again “saves” another one of theirs, Dan Sova (hn-sova), UK and US embassies comment that “parliamentary immunity should not be used abusively” (hn-usemb)
  • he is somewhat connected, through his position in the Writer’s Union, to Mr Liiceanu’s own “public resignation” (zmc-liic)
  • he is considered by many an extremist and “nationalist” for not recognizing the Moldovan Republic and for antiziganist statements

I’ve included Mr Vosganian’s saga mostly because it’s been recently in the news and it is somewhat connected to Nastase’s saga, which I plan to address soon and also because sometimes I confuse him with Mr Pambuccian. I hope that now this shall not happen again. I also suspect I’m not the only voter to ever confuse them. Still, Mr Liiceanu resigned from the Union whose vice-president Vosganian is blaming very low standards in Romanian culture and education, and that is the main subject in this article.

Mr Pambuccian was the subject of an article a few years ago, so I won’t spend too long on his history. We also talked about Finland in HDI 2010, PISA 2009, education compass and even in Edutarianism and Skinner. As for what I think about Romanian education, you can find by going through the homonymous category on this blog (currently with 71 articles).

In summary, Finland’s education miracle is based on a few pillars:

  • excellent teachers – a very coveted profession in Finland, only a few of those wanting to embrace it make it all the way through; a lot of freedom given to teachers and few standardized tests
  • community based learning, with the focus on everybody “getting it” rather than a few exceptional pupils going to “Olympiads”

Recently, we learned that Finland is further revolutionizing education (inbo-finew), moving to “phenomenon-based teaching”. The changes they make are truly amazingly simple and required by today’s reality, yet they have, as expected, their critics.

Mr Pambuccian is one such critic (gnd-finbad).

Starting from the idea that the school must correct creativity, Finnish education system wants to quit field-structured education and teach them mixed. In the United States there is a very smart initiative to take courses that combine knowledge and tries to produce new ideas with value. But they come within the context of existing knowledge. The Finnish experiment attempts an impossible task: to bring knowledge from various fields where they are needed and will eventually get nothing combining bits of nothing. Each field has an internal logic that can not be fragmented. Every domain knowledge arose when it was needed, creatively combining existing knowledge. Studying a field in its historical dynamic secures knowledge, gives it value and responds to the explorer spirit in us. Combining them in special classes where the target is the development of creativity, units of knowledge can become ingredients of a step forward in that it creates something new, and possibly having value. But by generalizing this type of special courses, absolutely necessary in school, and giving up on teaching by subjects, PowerPoint teachers will measure and report success in achieving nothing by creatively combining bits of nothingness.

One has to wonder if he understands what Finland is attempting.

Only two months ago, in an interview with Watify, he said in minute 4:05, discussing innovation.

Novelty can be checked only by a specialized institution - a patent office. That does not mean you wait until patent is out, it is enough to pass a preliminary stage of analysis as to have certainty.

In his own blog, he wrote back in 2014 (pambuc-whyi):

The today educational system was designed in the beginnings of the first industrial revolution. It was designed to fulfill the needs of that day’s economy. And these needs were to have more and more people working in factories, knowing very well several operations to be done and using their knowledge lifelong. The school was modelled based on the most successful entity of those times: the factory. The keywords of this educational system are: universality, uniform curricula and uniform development. But the factory is disappearing and the keywords that we need today seem to be access, adapted curricula and personal development. And most of all the debureaucratization of the learning process.

Beautiful words, but when Finland applies these very ideas, it’s wrong. What gives?

Possibly, the changes in Finland (changes I think Romania should adopt right away) are too revolutionary for Mr Pambuccian. It may be that they are too revolutionary for Finland’s society and students as well, though I don’t believe it.

Just remember where Romania is today.

  • over 90% of Romanian pupils and their parents want to be indoctrinated and abused by the Romanian Orthodox Church
  • PISA: The pupils being assessed are 15 year old. The outcomes show a difference between Romanian pupils and OECD pupils, the first being 50 points under the average of the OECD countries, at Mathematics, which is equivalent to one study year. Thus, we can say that 15 year old pupils from Romanian schools are, in average, one year behind pupils of the same age from OECD. Comparing the Romanian pupils with the Polish pupils, one can notice that the Polish pupils excel in this test, being high above the average of the OECD countries. Compared to the Polish pupils, the Romanian pupils are one year and a half behind, from the competences point of view.
  • four out of ten employers questioned, i.e. 40%, think that the skills with which youngsters exit the education system and enter the labor market represent a constraint in carrying out the corporate operations.
  • about 3.4% of GDP is invested in education, compared to an average of more than 5% in the EU.
  • teachers shortage, downward trend (INS)

I think that a country (Finland) that invests so much in education, whether judged by absolute monetary value, percentage of GDP or simply human capital, has a chance of success that is far higher than anything the sick, left-behind minds of Romania’s education ministry can possibly envision. Romania does not have the luxury to wait to see the results of Finland’s experiment – they’ve already modeled and tested the small-scale before widespread adoption. Romania should move to adopt such changes at large scale as soon as possible.

Sources / More info: gnd-finbad, w-pambuccian, w-vosganian, w-zambaccian, w-genocide, vosganian-punitie, hn-vvec, hn-vvsen, hn-vvpnl, hn-sova, hn-usemb, zmc-liic, inbo-finew, pambuc-whyi

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