Revolutionizing the way STEM subjects are being taught, one experiment at a time – an interview with Alexandra Butmalai

The One With Alexandra Butmalai

Introducing our youngest European Hero to date, the bubbly and full of life, Buti! 😀

Posted by European Heroes on Friday, April 27, 2018

Who would be better to talk about the challenges facing education today than 20-year-old Alexandra Butmalai? The young entrepreneur founded her own science experiment kit so that children and teenagers could explore the world around them – and try out things that are currently not featured in her country’s education curriculum.

It all started three years ago when I did science experiments in an after school with children. There are no science experiments in their classes here. The children went home and wanted to repeat experimenting, which is why I founded Fabrica de Experimente, Alexandra says.

The kit contains everything you need for 17 science experiments that you can safely do in the comfort of your home. The project got funding from science shows Alexandra and her team organised with more than 2,000 children across Romania, between 2015-2016.

I want to make people curious about the world they live in, Alexandra emphasizes.

Alexandra Butmalai in her science lab.

Alexandra Butmalai, why do you think we are not having a real discussion about education at the moment?

I believe the main reason some people don’t care about education is because they are accustomed to the current situation and they do not see why things should change. They have been raised by the already existing system and they feel proud about themselves so there is a great chance their children will be OK too, by their mindset. So, why change anything? Why bother?

What would be for you a first major step to change this?

I would set a national project which has to be respected for the next 20 years (to be sure is not in vain) in which we would analyse the educational systems in the world and build one of our own based on the research, our environment, technology and design thinking.

Many people have joined your team and cause. Why do you think you are able to motivate them?

I love working with people and the ability to solve a problem. I also like to learn, also from my own mistakes. I always had a strong vision and aimed high, which is why people started to follow me.

I think anyone who wants to start a movement should be prepared to work hard and to also have a lot of sad moments. However, if you have the right people around you, you will be fine. You should believe that you can change the world, because we are the ones crazy enough to do it! Believe in yourself and be passionate about what you are doing, that’s the key.

For me, ultimately the most important things in my life are growth, freedom and creativity.

Want to learn more? See Alexandra Butmalai’s recommendations for inspiration:

Logan LaPlante: Hackschooling makes me happy (TED Talk)

The Book of Life (online database)

Daniel Goleman: Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ (book)

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