Bogdanka ADAMU: Heritage International School is a non-profit project but the most valuable investment is its dividend.
The Interview of the InfoMarket agency. Heritage – the first established in Moldova international school was officialy opened on 22nd of August 2017 after just eight months from the moment the foundation stone was laid in its construction (December 6, 2016). The skeptics did not believe that the investors and contractors would be able to keep a very tight schedule. Nevertheless, the administration was settled in the school in the middle of June, and Heritage International School opened its doors being fully staffed and ready to receive the first students on August 22.
The initial cost of the project is 8 million euro. The school is designed for 480 pupils of 1 to 12 grades. The school has two main co-investors, Natalia Chechetova (Moldova) and Sinan Bora (Turkey), the project was supported by Mobiasbanca Groupe Societe Generale.
Director of Heritage International School Bogdanka Adamu expplained to InfoMarket agency about the project, its prospects and day-to-day realities awaits pupils and parents of the first international school established in Moldova. The school is intended to be associated with the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) and Cambridge International Education (CIE) (Great Britain) educational programs.
InfoMarket: You will start the first academic year on September 1st, but apart from the construction of the building, it is necessary to draw all the relevant documents for the educational program…
Bogdanka ADAMU: The foundation of the Heritage International School has demanded very deep study of laws and regulations in cooperation with the Ministry of Education staff. The first time a new type of school has been created, which, on the one hand meets all the requirements of national curriculum, on the other CIE and IPC international programs.
InfoMarket: Does it mean the children will have double burden during their learning experience?
Bogdanka ADAMU: We have created a unique education curiculum (Heritage Curiculum) so that it contains two standards simultaneously: the national educational system and the requirements of IPC and CIE. Pupils will be studying basic subjects in their native language in grades 1-12, thereby supporting their thinking and creating a national educational foundation. Parallel to this, Heritage is registered as a school with in-depth study of a foreign language, which allows us to introduce additional lessons devoted to the study of English, not only as such, but also within other disciplines, physical education, music, technology in primary school to grade 5, and starting from the 6th grade, according to CIE standards, students already have a good command of English, other subjects are taught: mathematics, science (biology, geography, chemistry, physics) in English.
At the end of the 9th grade, all students who have reached the age of 14, except for the exams under the national program, will definitely pass the Check-Point (Key Stage II) exams and only after this starting from grade 10th a double assignment is possible; it is at the discretion of the students and their parents. The next stage of the CIE - Key Stage III, the exams for which surrender after the 11th grade, is voluntary for our students.
InfoMarket: That is after the 9th class, passing the exam on the Key-Stage II, the formation of CIE can be omitted?
Bogdanka ADAMU: Probably, there is an increased responsibility of the student and his parents. Yes, you may not continue the CIE, but after all, everyone is interested in further admission to prestigious universities abroad. Simply, according to the Moldovan legislation, we cannot increase the assignment without the consent of the students and their parents. In addition, starting from the 9th grade, based on the results of Key-Stage-II, the students need to decide which university in three years they want to continue their education.
The fact is that, according to the Cambridge International Education program, starting from the 10th grade, students begin specialization. Depending on the institution the child intends to go to other country, it is necessary to choose the right subjects for specialization. Different institutions in different countries and different faculties require different courses. Engineering, courses on physics, chemistry, technology and design can be in demand, somewhere higher mathematics. The pupils and parents should know this clearly before the child begins to study in the 10th grade.
The results for Key-Stage II (English, mathematics, science) are very detailed and give
an excellent profile of the student, which helps know the talents and abilities of a student. It will also allow to make the right decision in the specialization. We hire a head of vocational guidance to help children and parents. This specialist is from Moldova and had education in the USA where she worked for many years in the specialty of Carrier Giudance.
We will gradually prepare our students for this process. That's why the school does not accept high school students (8-12 grades) from the first year of its work, but we will inform both pupils and parents, so that they understand the process of admission to universities of other countries where everything is not easy.
InfoMarket: Tuition fee is 4.000 euro per year, plus 250 euro entrance fee. Will the parents have additional costs and do you plan to increase the cost of studies in the future?
Bogdanka ADAMU: Yes. Additional costs for a school uniform and books. School lunches and dinners, as well as school transport, are paid separately. The world’s practice of taking the CIE international exams obliges you to pay for exams from the 9th grade. The cost is set by the CIE, for example, this year in some countries, one exam costs 60 pounds sterling.
As for the payment for the annual studies, we do not foresee its increase. Of course, much will depend on the situation in the country, but I would like parents to have a clear picture of the costs in our school.
InfoMarket: Why Moldovans price of studies is 4 thousand euro per year, and for students who are dependents of employees of international organizations, diplomatic missions and corporations - 10 thousand euro..?
Bogdanka ADAMU: First of all, this is a worldwide practice in such schools.
Plus, in teaching children who are native speakers, only teachers with international qualifications participate, which cost the school more.
The calculation of school’s fees for education is based on projects being implemented. We strive to establish the minimum price that will allow the school not only to meet its needs, but also to develop. Heritage is a non-profit project. Therefore, all collected funds go to the maintenance of the school, the salaries of teachers and staff, the return of bank loans and development and only after the implementation of the tasks set, the fulfillment of obligations, we will warrant the investments been made. Our investors do not set themselves the goal of a rapid return on investments; otherwise they could have invested in a profitable business with a payback from 2 to 4 years. The international school is not oriented on profit, it is a project based on self-repayment at the expense of its participants and the high professionalism of didactic personnel. The purpose of the project is to ensure that children learn in the best possible conditions and have the opportunity to receive the best education in the best world’s practices.
InfoMarket: How many contracts with the parents, you have already signed, the week before September 1st?
Bogdanka ADAMU: We have 180 students right now. We expect, of course, more students, after the official opening. There are parents who have booked a place. There are also those who have already paid the entrance fee. I think people need a little more time to make sure that we do not get mixed up in words and promises.
InfoMarket: Based on the current situation, is this enough money for school maintenance and labor remuneration for staff?
Bogdanka ADAMU: According to the investment plan planned, this year we plan to use investment money in case of shortage of the required number of children.”
InfoMarket: What is now the school’s staff, as, for example, teachers?
Bogdanka ADAMU: Total number of employees is about 40 people, of whom over 30 are teachers. When we grow to the lyceum, we will have all 12 classes, the number of employees will grow to one hundred, most of which will be teachers. Now, we have foreign teachers from the US and UK; There are specialists from Moldova and the CIS countries who have received education in the United States. All are prepared for teaching in the programs of International Primary Curriculum. In addition, we have selected highly qualified teachers from Moldova, paying attention to their training, and we will constantly improve the qualifications of the entire teaching staff, including internships abroad.
InfoMarket: Education infrastructure of Heritage school includes the dining area, snack bar, playground, the stadium, the sports hall and swimming pool. The latter, however, as far as we know, will not work this year?
Bogdanka ADAMU: Yes, we will open the pool until the next school year. Today we have the main priority to start working in the existing infrastructure, which is already provided with everything necessary for a full-fledged learning process. We are fully prepared and staffed for this year.
InfoMarket: Why the program of University of Cambridge has been selected for education? There are many other prestigious international educational programs.
Bogdanka ADAMU: First of all, we tried to find the most similar educational program to the one from Moldova. We considered a lot of programs from the United States, Great Britain... and with the support of international consultants we chose the program of University of Cambridge.
InfoMarket: Does the Cambridge University aware of the school that would teach children in their programs in Moldova?
Bogdanka ADAMU: Of course they know. And they are ready to begin the process of our accreditation as an official Cambridge International Education school as soon as we begin to work. Certificates and diplomas for the education of Cambridge are issued only there; They give us exams, supervisors for the exam period, check our results and only after that they write out the documents.
InfoMarket: With such an educational program, your students eill have all the doors open to many world universities. Does it mean that Heritage will prepare students for export?
Bogdanka ADAMU: It is very difficult to go to a prestigious international institution for a student who receives only a bachelor's degree in Moldova. Students will have to go for a year and a half pre-university intensive training for admission. We are planning to prepare the program Key-Stage-IV or Advanced Level for our graduate, after passing these exams, they will be able to pass a pre-university course in their native school, then immediately go to an international university for a master's degree in the second year of study. Heritage does not prepare students for export, we train young people who can get a profession abroad and later return home and contribute to the social and economic development of this country, which is on the way to the Euro-integration. Moldova needs good specialists with high qualifications. Our school is an instrument of such opportunities for future generations.
InfoMarket: Apparently, the educational model of Heritage school involves parents in the educational process. How exactly is it supposed to be implemented?
Bogdanka ADAMU: Yes, of course, we take the position that a student's education is not only the responsibility of teachers, but also personal efforts of a student, as well as the active support of the parents. The parents will have access to all information regarding the educational program of their children. We also welcome advices and recommendations from parents to improve the educational process, and, of course, we will strive to involve them in all school matters for the consolidation of the Heritage school community.