149 letting yourself be influenced by prior knowledge, concepts and experiences. It’s a key attitude for education and for benchmarking processes to work out, as it stimulates the search for inspiration, ideas and insights.” Another highlight of this period is the teacher development partnership between the Fundação and Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK), from Tampere, Finland, focusing on education in this century by way of a post-graduation course held entirely in English. In 2015 the first group of Rio Branco educators completed it, bringing new knowledge and points of reference for application here, thus multiplying them along with the other teachers. As regards the process of modernizing the administration and boosting best practices in education, the early years of the 21st century were particularly rich in advances, building on the steps that had been taken since the mid-1980s. The administrative structure was strongly optimized, increasing its efficiency by focusing on what is central to the operations. “Those jobs which could be done by specialized firms in the marketplace, with added knowledge and quality, were contracted with them,” says Marco Rossi. At the same time, the Fundação moved forward on its path of continuous improvement and adopting best practices, such as Corporate Governance and Shared Strategic Planning, already mentioned in the previous chapter. The search for inspiration in the best practices applied around the world and identification of trends that were gaining traction has yielded significant improvements. Benchmarking trips —the first of which to the Nordic countries— became part of the schedule of the Fundação’s leaderships and maintained entities. “Since then, we have established a special relationship with people and institutions in Finland, which is a leading country in this field. Today we are considered a benchmark here as far as the Finnish system goes,” says Marco Rossi. Another initiative that has made a lot of room for exchanging experiences and assimilating new ideas is the Improving Quality in Education program, which is carried out annually at Harvard Graduate School of Education, United States, and brings together around 100 people from several countries. The study of cognitive neuro-sciences and flexible learning environments for tomorrow’s education, intensified by the contact with programs dedicated to this theme at Harvard, has also been a source of inspiration for educators. As Eduardo Pimentel points out, the goal has always been to have a very well-prepared team of officials and teachers with an insight into the role of educators in the future. In 2013, after 16 years as the president of the Board of Directors of the Fundação, Eduardo Pimentel left the office and became president emeritus, but he continued playing an active part in the institution, particularly at Faculdades Integradas Rio Branco. In the course of his term, he made an extremely valuable contribution, always focusing on innovating and creating the conditions for ensuring the perpetuation of the Fundação and its projects in accordance with the guiding principles of its operation. Waldecy Rodrigues de Souza, secretary to the Presidency throughout his term, calls attention to the vast legacy he left to his successors: “Of the many innovations that president Pimentel has introduced, I highlight the introduction of Shared Strategic Planning, the creation of the Faculdades, the integration among maintained entities, the development of the Political Pedagogical Plan, the international benchmarking activities, the expansion of Centro de Educação para Surdos Rio Branco’s work, and the modernization of Cepro, among many others.” Two other aspects in which she sees an important contribution are image and visibility. “The Fundação was advertised mostly among Rotarians around the world, including Brazilian ones, who knew little about this great Rotary project, thanks to president Pimentel’s administration.” The legacy left by that administration is widespread not only in terms of accomplishments and achievements, but also and especially for having firmly established a clear vision for the future and the role that the Fundação aims to play. His successor Nahid Chicani actively participated in that process, during which he, in addition to being a member of the Superior Council of the Fundação, occupied several positions on the Board of Directors, culminating as 1st vice president, between 2004 and 2013. With his extensive experience at the Fundação and a prominent career in the private sector —having served for more than 40 years in executive positions at General Electric do Brasil, and later become a consultant on human resources and executive selection— he was fully qualified to carry on with the implementation and broadening of this project. “The goal is to keep on working towards boosting the institution and its five maintained entities by investing in quality and innovation,” he says. “That is what has caused us to be recognized as the world’s largest pararotarian educational project, a position that has been stressed several times by presidents of Rotary International and other Rotary-related authorities both on their visits to Brazil and at conventions in several parts of the world,” Nahid Chicani adds.
Livro Comemorativo dos 70 anos da Fundação de Rotarianos de São Paulo - Uma história de ideias e ideais
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