The interview with Sergiu Cornea, Rector of Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu State University of Cahul. Startup City Cahul section supported by ATIC.
On May 17th, the city of Cahul welcomed the inauguration of the Inotek EU Innovation Centre Cahul, a cutting-edge training facility designed to foster creativity, drive innovation, and provide equal access to state-of-the-art technologies. The creation of this center was facilitated by the EU4Moldova: Startup City Cahul project, in collaboration with the Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu State University of Cahul. Sergiu Cornea, the Rector of the Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu State University, explores in an interview the future growth of the center, its objectives and roles, and the transformative impact these educational initiatives will have on the southern region of Moldova.
Mr. Cornea, good afternoon. Before we go directly to the topic of our interview, the opening of Inotek, tell us about your experience working at the Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu State University of Cahul. How long have you been in the position of rector?
Good afternoon, Svetlana. In the summer of 2020, I won the competition for the position of rector of the university and took up my duties in November 2020. If you remember all the work experience at the university, it amounts to over 23 years. I have gone through almost all stages - I was a teacher, then a senior teacher, head of the department, vice-rector. Since 2000, I have been part of the university team.
Over the 23 years of work, you undoubtedly participated in many projects to develop the university and watched how the university is changing. The opening of the Inotek center is one of the most significant events recently. Tell us more about the implementation of the project and the university's participation in this process.
The opening of the Inotek center was made possible thanks to financial support from the EU, as well as the active participation of ATIC in supporting the university. The project involves the implementation of a wide range of measures related to the IT field. One of the important directions of Inotek's activities is working with children. There will be many projects aimed at training, informing, and involving children and teenagers in the IT field. In addition, special educational courses have been created for the older generation. For example, not so long ago, a group of our university's teachers went through an introductory computer literacy course. It should be noted that Inotek focuses on programs for women, which will include various educational courses and events. University teachers will also actively join the center's work, our specialists will lead courses and participate in educational and social events. The most talented students will be able to lead courses for schoolchildren.
At the moment, all Inotek activities are taking place in specially equipped and prepared halls in the university building. The future project for the center's development involves the construction of a separate building for Inotek, which will be located on the university campus.
At what stage is the construction of a separate building for Inotek?
The construction is currently at an initial stage. It is difficult to predict exactly when the project will be completed and put into operation, but I hope that by 2025 we will reach the final stage of construction.
What other directions, besides training, are there in the Inotek innovation center?
The center implies many directions. Such as: holding various events, conferences, master classes, seminars, round tables. These events are attended by teachers from our university, students, IT specialists from Chisinau. This is an excellent platform for volunteers and active youth in our city. Thanks to the fact that Inotek is equipped with the necessary technology, those who wish to have the opportunity to organize their workspace or study space here.
You mentioned that a lot of attention will be paid to the younger generation within Inotek. Is this one of the priorities of the center's activities?
Absolutely, this is one of the primary and most significant areas of focus. By introducing children to the world of IT technologies, we provide them with the opportunity to access novel and intriguing information, learn about in-demand careers in this sector, and assist them in discovering their talents and selecting a path that best aligns with their interests. As a rector, it's crucial to me that the younger generation has the chance to understand the advantages of the IT sector, become familiar with the educational process, see the benefits and, in a few years, opt for Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu State University for their higher education. Owing to Inotek, university students gain access to the most advanced knowledge and technologies in the IT domain.
In Moldova, a prevalent perception holds that agriculture is the primary avenue for regional development. However, Inotek is championing IT instead. What, in your view, are the prospects for the information technology sector in southern Moldova?
I believe that IT is a field with great potential and growth opportunities, especially in the southern region of Moldova. The global goal of Inotek, the university, and each organization, as well as the people involved in the project, is to prevent young people from leaving our region. To do this, conditions are created for training and further employment here, in the Cahul district, in the south of the country. Of course, IT is not the only promising direction, but nevertheless, it is one of the most demanded and interesting for young people. Thanks to projects like Inotek, we can turn our city into an IT Hub of the south of Moldova, which will provide many new opportunities for training and work for IT specialists in our region.
What other plans are there for the development of the university, besides the construction of the Inotek center?
ur goal is for the university to emerge as a key driver of development in the Cahul region. We have established collaborations with universities in various countries including Romania, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Poland. In the near future, we aim to broaden our cooperative endeavours and identify new partners for mutual growth. The student exchange program is a prevalent initiative that we actively foster. In this academic year, we had the privilege of hosting a student from Turkey for the first time, and we also welcome faculty members from overseas.
I would like to note that we have started renovations in dormitory No. 1, as we plan to create the most comfortable conditions for students. Kitchens and bathrooms will be equipped with all necessary modern appliances. I would like to note that the university is ready to accommodate everyone. We have places and good conditions for students.
Students from Cahul became champions in web development in Tekwill Junior Ambassadors
Startup City Cahul congratulates the Web Fox team from the Hasdeu college in Cahul on becoming champions in web development in the Tekwill Junior Ambassadors competition.
You are a source of inspiration for all young people in the Republic of Moldova and demonstrate that talent and passion can lead to outstanding achievements in IT. Follow your dream and bring innovation to the digital world!