By Lavínia Pereira
Imagine a University that prioritises self-development, awareness and civic engagement!
Within the scope of this research on the ‘Future of University’, and its contribution to more just and sustainable futures, last February I went to Bucharest for a ‘short-term scientific mission’ (STSM) funded by INTREPID Cost Action, aiming to explore the educational and organizational model of Alternative University (AU) of Romania. My expectations were high. I had met Traian Bruma – one of the founders of AU – a couple of months earlier, and his enthusiastic presentation at a gathering at ISCSP in Lisbon caught my attention. Founded in 2008 by a group of students from Politehnica University of Bucharest, integrated in the student associative movements of Romania, AU is a non-conventional project for higher education. Proposing itself as an alternative to the Romanian higher education conventional system, considered by the founders to be out-dated, disconnected from the world and indifferent to the real needs of the students, the Alternative University strived to be a freedom-centred organization with an educational model mainly focused in human development in its various dimensions, with a strong emphasis in self-directed learning.