New director of UT Youth Academy is Mihkel Kree
On 29 April 2016, UT senate elected the new director of the Youth Academy—Mihkel Kree, who has extensive experience as a participant, organiser and supervisor of Estonian teams in olympiads. Kree believes that in the future, the Youth Academy could also export its potential abroad and increase the proportion of different areas in the Youth Academy’s work. The new director takes office on 1 August 2016.
UT Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Mart Noorma said on behalf of the expert committee, who evaluated the candidates, that the key factor, why Mihkel Kree was elected, was his prior experience to lead activities targeted at talented youth and set a personal example to them with his achievements in olympiads and research work competitions: “With Mihkel Kree, the Youth Academy gets a leader who has a good understanding of how the Youth Academy works as well as of possible development directions. I am confident that he will use to the best of his knowledge the vast experience he has and the will to include the progeny and alumni of the Youth Academy in developing its work.”
For already the fourth year, Kree is participating in the process of preparing Saudi Arabia students for international olympiads. Students there have weak basic knowledge, and so in order for them to reach the level of international olympiads, intensive training camps are organised, which last for several months and where lecturers are imported from, for example, Estonia and Hungary.
“Based on this experience, I see the opportunity for the Youth Academy to export teaching competence in other fields as well. And, on the other hand, if necessary, why not import the required competence from neighbouring countries in some fields,” said Kree.
According to Kree, the Youth Academy has a vast role in society through long-distance learning courses and student contests with an extensive basis. “However, such a great number of activities require a critical analysis from the perspective of cost efficiency. It is important to determine the impact of each activity: how much it inspires students and brings them to work on the subject in depth, how efficiently it helps find gifted children from weaker schools, where there is lack of teacher’s support, how much it motivates to continue studying the subject in university.”
Kree believes that the long-distance learning programme of the Youth Academy also needs to be modernised and unified: “The substantive organisation of the courses should be done by people competent and experienced in their field—here we can of course consider the Youth Academy alumni.”
In recent years, the Youth Academy has extended its grasp from traditional subjects, such as mathematics, physics and chemistry, to several new subjects, for example, the new humanities subjects have significantly widened the target group of the Youth Academy.
“Meanwhile, we need to make sure that the current high level in traditional subjects is maintained, but at the same time we should initiate efficient work in newer subjects with a smaller basis,” admitted Kree.
There were 15 candidates to the position of the director of UT Youth Academy, who all met the requirements.
Additional information: Mihkel Kree, Director of UT Youth Academy, 53431277, mihkel.kree [ät] gmail.com
Mart Noorma, UT Vice Rector for Academic Affairs, member of the expert committee, 523 9159, mart.noorma [ät] ut.eeVirge Tamme