Adservio, the platform that contributes to the digitalization of Romanian education. Alexandru Holicov: „If we want a smart country, then we must have a smart education system”

In 2008, after a series of businesses in the automotive and real estate fields, Alexandru laid the foundations of the first educational platform in Romania. After 12 years, Adservio gathers the largest community of teachers, students, and parents in the country, namely one and a half million. We discussed with Alexandru Holicov about the beginnings, digital education, and solutions during a pandemic.

Summary:
  • During the pandemic, Adservio remains in the service of smart education: “Since the pandemic started, we have offered free access to our platform. Our partner Telekom offered free internet sim cards to all teachers and students who didn’t have „
  • When the results speak for themselves: „Where there is Adservio, absenteeism has decreased by more than 60%, the average grades per school have increased by more than one point, and the results of national tests have improved”
  • About the importance of smart education: “An educated country is harder to manipulate. If you want to build a smart country, then you must have a smart education system. You can’t use the same one hundred years old methods and expect results. „
When one door closes, another opens

Before embarking on his entrepreneurial career, Alexandru Holicov excelled at tennis and knocked down whole kingdoms on the chessboard. Everything was going smoothly, but at 16 the unfortunate happened. „I had an injury and I couldn’t follow my dream anymore. I had to change direction. At the age of 18 and a half, I started doing business in the field of car leasing, then I started to invest in real estate „, Alexandru Holicov told Matricea Românească.

“I had an injury and I couldn’t follow my dream anymore. I had to change direction”

At the age of 22, he decided to improve something around him and chose education. Alongside his cousin and two other friends, he started a new project. They outdid themselves, and in 2009 the Vasile Alecsandri High School in Iași became the first beneficiary. “At the beginning of the platform, the teacher could give grades, mark absenteeism, send messages, and have access to the school’s schedule. Now, Adservio has become a digital school „, Alexandru told us.

Innovation in education

During the 12 years since its establishment, the team went through changes. New modules have appeared, and this has brought notoriety to the market. We asked Alexandru to tell us how Adservio helps school management. „For example, the principal may have an overview of the school he or she manages. He or she can see the activity, can communicate with all parents, teachers, and students. The teacher module allows them to make online lessons with students, to send them homework. We also provide a library with over 1200 books from which teachers can recommend to students”. Adservio has 2 packages. “The first one is called Perfect Simple, through which we offer training, email, and telephone assistance to all teachers and also video manuals, accompanied by online tutorials. Through the second package, More than Perfect, we equip the school with tablets and 4G internet. This is due to a partnership established in 2016 with Telekom Romania „, says Alexandru Holicov. (Perfect simple and more than perfect are two verbal tenses in the Romanian language)

Results

Adservio quickly became one of the top competitors in the field of education, but the authorities didn’t do too much to adapt to the digital world. „Schools that use our platform are still forced to use classic catalogs”. When a teacher enters a note on the platform, it is updated in real-time. The schools that use the platform have eliminated all commissions, reports, they are done automatically. Where Adservio exists, absenteeism has decreased by over 60%, the average grades per school have increased by over one point (in Romania, the grading system is from 1 to 10), and the results of national tests have improved. The team is always looking for the most up-to-date methods in the field of education. “Now we have video webinars, more precisely online training for principals and teachers. Another project is the Educational Cafe, developed in partnership with ARL Romania, where people involved in education address specialized topics. Adservio reduces bureaucracy, brings digitization, automates all processes, and brings technology to education”, Alexandru Holicov specifies.

In 12 years we have reached 200 schools in Romania, and since the beginning of the pandemic the number has exceeded 1000

Adservio also supports education in times of hardship

The pandemic caught the Romanian school system offside. “How to achieve smart education when students travel miles to school, and there they are immersed in the dimness of a small room?”. Alexandru and the team did not forget about these children and jumped to their aid. „Since the pandemic began, we have offered free access to the platform. Our partner, Telekom, offered free sim cards with internet to all teachers and students. Together with several NGOs and companies, we have tried to raise funds and equipment for children who do not have access to devices, „said Alexandru.

Now, Adservio is present only in Romania and the Republic of Moldova, but soon it will be available in Finland, Austria, Hungary, and Germany. At the end of the dialogue, Alexandru Holicov emphasizes once again the importance of smart education. „An educated country is harder to manipulate. If you want to make a smart country, then you have to have a smart education system. You can’t use the same old methods and expect a different result. We need to understand that the lack of digitization sends children back in time. „

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