Edumus is planning to bring part-time heroes to school
It`s 2029, spring is approaching. In Rakvere State Upper Secondary School with flexible curricula, 43-year-old Juhan from Kadrina is giving a logics, mathematics and computer science expedited lesson on a sunny Wednesday in February. His accountancy programme used by companies and organisations across Estonia has made him a success.
Juhan, who reached the top of his area of expertise with pragmatic methods will be giving the pupils six lessons in total this school year, one almost every month – unfortunately, there isn`t time for more with his work. But by giving six practical lessons (half or full lessons), he has contributed to developing Lääne-Virumaa pupils` logic and deduction skills. And who knows, maybe some pupils will end up in Juhan`s growing company through his lessons or the IT sector overall, which needs new labour.
Juhan is not the only entrepreneur who provides combined subject lessons through Edumus programme in Rakvere. The school has close to twenty part-time teachers like him. Most work with a 0.1-0.3 work load, a few even 0.5. The majority of them are successful salaries employees or entrepreneurs, who have found the opportunity to share their experience and knowledge as their main job becomes more flexible. Besides, teaching is remunerated.
This is the dream of the Edumus team, which made the TOP 30 in Estonia`s largest business idea competition, but they hope to morph their dream into reality in ten years` time.
How far has Edumus already come?
But what does it mean? What does Edumus want to do to our education?
Nothing unprecedented or radical. Edumus wants to create a programme, through which working specialists can contribute to the development of Estonian education part-time with their know-how, by teaching one subject to one class in one school. In essence, it can be compared to other initiatives that bring other specialities` fanatics back to school like the programmes Noored Kooli (Youth First) and Tagasi Kooli (Back to School). The difference is that Noored Kooli and Tagasi Kooli bring people to school to teach for two years and one lesson respectively, Edumus aims to bring in top specialist on a rotating basis part-time for six months or a year.
Edumus is just beginning to realise its vision and Ajujaht is one of the first serious litmus tests for their team comprised of three people. The founder, Maria Rahamägi, is an education fanatic with a background inanalytics. She has also workedin a non-profit encouraging youth to start businesses for quite a while. The co-founder, Kaisa Krusenberg, has primarily been focusing on studies at the Estonian Academy of Arts and work in sales so far, the other co-founder, Kristjan Lepp, is an alumnus of the Noored Kooli programme. The cooperation partner is Tallinn University School of Educational Sciences, which is helping Edumus develop the methodology to train specialists.
Their initial goal is to start with a pilot project this year and to bring at least 30 new teachers to schools through their programme. They are using networks, employer and advertisement campaigns to find the teachers. The application conditions include higher education (Master`s degree is preferred), natural talent – which is revealed primarily during Edumus` three-hour mini programme – and a positive attitude. In case of salaries employees, probably also the employer`s consent to the employee working at for example 0.8 work load instead of full work load. And to be truthful, the first Edumus programme alumni should be willing to accept the fact that programme participants do not receive a grant from Edumus: all income generated will need to go towards development during the first few years to bring even more and even more competent affluent specialists to schools.
How can teachers benefit from Edumus?
Founder of Edumus, Maria Rahamägi, believes that specialists teaching part-time will also give new ideas and freshness to permanent staff with their methods and personalities. “Keeping full-time teachers on the team will definitely remain the same in schools. Our programme is rather a tool to alleviate the current situation on the education landscape, where full-time or part-time teachers are over-burdened. Often, teachers have to bring work home and have little free time to educate themselves,” says Rahamägi.
For example, teachers can observe the principles, examples and experience private sector top specialists share with 12thand 6thgraders in class as guests.
The other option to benefit is to use the breaks to discuss sectoral issues with the new teachers and synthesise how teachers can help train the next generation to alleviate the problems even somewhat.
We want to create a positive development cycle with Edumus, where involvement of more teachers decreases the work load of existing teachers. This means that teachers have more time to apply innovative solutions and raise the quality of teaching. In this way, we make the learning experience more engaging for pupils and raise the image of the teaching profession. A better reputation and lower work load make the profession of a teacher more attractive and thereby, help bring in more teachers.
Ajujaht is Estonia’s largest business idea competition. Ajujaht was established by Enterprise Estonia, partner SEB and main sponsor Elisa. In addition to the aforementioned, Ajujaht is supported by Law Office Triniti, Estonian Employers` Confederation, Estonian Chamber of Agriculture, Harku Municipality, City of Pärnu, Saue Municipality, City of Tallinn, City of Tartu. Ajujaht is funded by Enterprise Estonia`s European Regional Development Fund finances. Ajujaht is implemented by Civitta Eesti AS, Kommunikatsioonibüroo JLP and Tehnopol.