“Education is not just about profit, it is about shaping lives of our future generations.”
Interview with the Director of International School of Bucharest, Mr. Sinan Kosak.
Entrepreneurship in Education. What are the good parts, what are the hard parts, what is possible and what is not possible?
To be an entrepreneur, you need to plan very carefully and take some risks. Education is not like any other business and you cannot just think about your profit or loss. In the end, it is about shaping the lives of our future generations. So it has to be taken very sensibly. There are always new methods, researches and case studies and the good part is that educators are more likely to share their ideas and are eager to work collectively. The hard part is that we are obliged to follow a curriculum content which already has been outlined, and we need to prepare our students to various tests to enter a university or to have a career. Entrepreneurship will find more space if we focus more on creativity and building skills rather than just delivering the content for these tests.
Which are ISB’s core values regarding the act of education? Are there any compulsory standards for a successful school?
We have three core values at ISB: Learn, Respect and Succeed. As Robert Quinn, a master teacher and professor at Michigan University says: “no matter what they say or how they behave, every child wants to learn, to be respected and to be successful”. Our ambition is to build a community of students, parents and teachers who are life-long learners, respectful to every person, every belief and opinion, care about their environment and are creative and successful individuals contributing to the global community. I think a successful school should focus on these core values and facilitate a safe and supportive environment to equip our students with the 4Cs of the 21st-century skills; critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration. I further believe that our international accreditations and memberships, such as Council of International Schools, Cambridge, COBIS, and the IB together with 23 years of experience in the sector have made these standards a school culture at ISB.
Today’s children will grow up to be adults in a society that will be different from the one we live in nowadays. What are the essential instruments that ISB provides its pupils?
As we all hear more often nowadays, we prepare students for the jobs that don’t exist yet. Technology is one of the essential instruments but it needs to be used only when it extends, enhances and engages students. We call this Triple-E framework. If the lessons are not planned based on this framework, technology would be just a toy or a distraction. Another instrument is to provide our students with all the means they need to unleash their potential. When I say “means” I mean everything they would need: guidance time, tutoring, motivation, support, extra-curricular activities, facilities – a school where skills are nurtured for the future ahead.
What is the motivation that ISB offers to its teachers?
ISB promises to be a friendly workplace where everybody feels valued. We see each and every member of our staff as an asset to our school. We support our teachers and provide various and continuous professional development opportunities. I think we are one of the rare international schools in Romania having a generous CPD budget for teachers. We have about 100 teachers from a wide variety of backgrounds and nationalities. Working with such a diverse community that share the same core values gives our teachers an excellent opportunity for their professional life. We actively promote wellbeing, for staff and students, and make sure everybody is familiar with our safeguarding policy.
Good practices in the private education system. What are the most important coordinates for ISB, in this matter?
ISB aims to build its own best practices in our school context and we proudly share these periodically through our school magazine, the ‘Insight’. Readers of ‘Insight’ will find the articles written directly by our teachers who experience and share what really works for our students. Talk for writing, the thematic approach in primary education, enterprise week, 30-minute instrumental lessons, project-based learning, ISB Talks, PTA breakfasts and parent workshops, golden time, talent show, weekend academy, our celebrations of student achievements are some of these successful practices I can list…
How does ISB build and develop its interaction with international education systems?
ISB was the first Cambridge Exams centre in Romania and the second fully accredited school by Council of International Schools, the CIS. It is unique in Romania with Cambridge IGCSE together with the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma programme that provides a broad and balanced education. We are in very good relationships with well-known and highly respected international organisations such as COBIS, ACES, Duke of Edinburgh Award Programme, Eco-Schools, and the British Council. Thanks to our memberships, accreditations and authorisations, we are able to join the network of very successful schools to raise the quality of our education to equal the highest of global standards. It is also my pleasure to announce that we are now pursuing British Schools Overseas (BSO) accreditation through the British government. I can say that we are in continuous improvement and always aim at meeting the demands of our community while working in close harmony with our international partners.