George Vaideanu (1924-2014) is probably one of the most remarkable Romanian educational leaders, recognized not only within his own nation but worldwide. His involvement in Romanian education occurred at many levels—from primary to academic, from teachers to executives and leaders involved in determining educational policy, from local to international arenas. At the international level, he served as a magistrate of UNESCO during 1973-1980.
In adult and continuing education, he believed that education for adults required psychological and methodological approaches that should differ significantly from those used for traditional aged students. According to Vaideanu, there was a direct relationship between the age of the students and the educational objectives, content, strategies, means, learning environment, and assessment techniques employed.
Vaideanu was the principal of the Pedagogical College in Iasi. In addition to serving as an university professor, he was vice rector of the first university in Romania, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, and director of the Institute for Teacher Training in Iasi. He became the first director of the Pedagogical Institute of Bucharest from 1967 to 1973. He also organized the First European Symposium in Adult Education: Scientific Research and Cultural Action inBucharest in 1968. He coordinated doctoral theses in the field of lifelong learning and adult education for PhD students in Romania and in other countries. Many of his doctoral students went on to become experts in different regional, European, and international organizations.
For UNESCO, he served as chief of curriculum and published Education at the Frontier between Millennia, a volume that was translated into English, French, and Chinese. He also published numerous articles, in many languages, and coordinated or participated in defining the policies of lifelong education and the programs that grew from these policies.
Vaideanu initiated the first programs for “the second literacy,” employing new technologies. He organized regional centers of UNESCO aiming at involving the communities more than previously, drawing local decision makers and local populations into the educational process. He served as general secretary of the International Association of Educators for World Peace (1982), and in his country he implemented an educational program for communication and democracy in schools in all eight of Romania’s historical regions. A visionary in every sense of the word, he helped raise awareness regarding the functioning of the democratic systems of the world.
Like all adult and continuing educators, Vaideanu was a holistic thinker who understood education as continuous process, and his contributions included his interests in and commitment to aesthetic education as well—with an emphasis on arts education for all ages—and moral education.
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