On its fourth anniversary, the TEKWILL project kicks off the “[r]evolution reaches the whole country” and is committed to bringing information technology closer to people in all regions of Moldova. Supporting higher education institutions in the country remains a priority for the TEKWILL project, as the responsibility to educate a new generation of innovators also takes place in universities and academies. And to bring added value to the ICT industry in the Republic of Moldova, teachers benefit from mentoring programs, scholarships, and technical equipment to achieve a quality educational process. “UTeach” is an initiative in which teachers interested in achieving ICT performance benefit from development opportunities and resources to adjust education to the current requirements and trends of the industry. The initiative is part of the “Tekwill Ambassador Program” and is carried out with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Sweden within the “Tekwill” project, implemented by the National Association of ICT Companies.
Irina Oriol, Deputy Coordinator, “Tekwill” project: “In 4 years of Tekwill activities, a series of initiatives have been developed to support teachers, but at the same time we also offered students an opportunity to acquire skills and abilities that are currently in demand on the labour force market. We developed two editions of “UTeach” within the “Tekwill Ambassador Program” and several scholarship editions. Over 150 young people benefited from Oracle scholarships. The teachers from the 6 educational institutions that benefited from the “UTeach” program grants developed 22 projects in their institutions. At the same time, the technical material base of the universities was improved by offering different equipment for delivering the lessons, but also for various innovative projects developed by students together under the guidance of the professors throughout their implementation.”
The training and preparation of teachers from different fields to develop and pilot IT programs was carried out also in the educational institutions in the regions. At the State University of Comrat, 30 professors benefited from a technological education program, and 95 teachers registered for the 4 webinars that were organized in this regard.
Tatiana Velicova, associate professor, doctor, State University of Comrat: “For the first time, I came to Tekwill for “Open Day”, where various courses available within the project were presented. I decided to participate, and my attempt was successful. We obtained a grant that aimed at training and educating future teachers in the field of e-teach. During the project we received necessary equipment such as laptops – to be able to deliver classes online. The students are very interested in projects of this kind, and for us, the “Tekwill” initiatives are very important, because they support education. Through the “Tekwill” project, we can implement world-class initiatives that could arouse the interest of students and teachers.”
The “UTeach” project also encourages the use of IT tools to develop and implement programs to achieve performance in other areas of activity.
Irina Cojuhari, Associate Professor, PhD, Technical University of Moldova: “Within the “Tekwill Ambassadors” program, I participated in 3 projects. The first project was in 2018, in which together with the students at the Technical University of Moldova, tried to implement an “Intelligent system for cultivating agricultural crops”, setting out a greenhouse that works until now. In 2020, I applied for a new round “UTeach”. Within this collaboration, several workshops and a hackathon for students were organized. With the support of the “Tekwill” project, we had the opportunity to update the curriculum in several disciplines, to implement new technologies in teaching approaches and to carry out many interesting projects with students.”
During the two “UTeach” rounds, innovative ideas for modifying the ICT curriculum of 23 teachers from higher education institutions in the country were supported, at the same time, professors and students benefited from free access to internationally recognized educational programs at Oracle University: Java Fundamentals and SQL Fundamentals. Annually, these digital education empowerment initiatives create impactful opportunities for 2,000 students.
In 2021, the Tekwill project expands its network in the north and south of the country, bringing universities closer to benefit from various technologies and opportunities to improve the curriculum, modernize and update those disciplines and skills that are currently in demand in the labour market.