Cooperative Education combines studying at a university of applied sciences (UAS) with practical training in a company or institution. One could say that many students combine university studies and a part-time job nowadays, but it’s not quite the same. Students are looking for part-time jobs in order to ensure more or less decent living conditions, and very often this job has nothing to do with their education and with their passion – they just find any job with suitable working conditions in order to earn some money.
Cooperative Education changes the situation drastically. Students have no need to search for a side job anymore: once they are enrolled to a faculty, they also sign a contract with a company in which their practical stage will take place. In addition to this, the schedule of university classes and working practice are harmonized, so students don’t need to skip classes because of their job. Moreover, they are not overloaded and have no time management issues.
Next, dual system allows students to stay focused: they don’t have a side job from a completely different domain which disturbs their concentration – their job is the start of their career, and they can immediately implement theoretical knowledge received during the classes on practice.
It is also a winning situation for companies: they get young motivated employees that are eager to learn and do their best; they are loyal to the company and they get acquainted with the workflow from the very beginning.
Another advantage, which is probably the key benefit of cooperative education system, is the tight connection between university study and job. Nowadays, students in Moldova very often complain that at the university they learned topics (or even disciplines) that are never used in practice; real job requirements are absolutely different and a huge volume of knowledge is being acquired later, during their work experience. Well, this issue can easily be eliminated by sticking to the dual system of studies.