The traditional celebrating atmosphere specific to the inauguration of a new university year could not be found in the first day of this October. The deficit is explained not just by the bad weather contradictions, but especially through the increasing difficulties characteristic to university life. With faculties operating on the verge of bankruptcy because of an acute financial deficit mainly generated by the low financing from the budget, not by the fact – often falsely invoked – that the respective university specialisations no longer answer the new social exigencies. But such specialisations should not be limited to the strict requirements of today, but rather should encompass a large-scale perspective and anticipate future evolutions.
The formula which the minister of Education recently resorted to, which excludes from university education over 180 specialisations, will not yield the expected results. If the graduates of these specialisations do not find jobs and engross the ranks of unemployed, the blame does not fall upon these modern profiles. The problem lies with the present-day Romanian economy, as a whole, which relies mostly on low-skill activities, on improvisations in contradiction with the modern world system.
This is why each new university year, through its approaches, should anticipate the future conditions of each specialisation available for students. This character of a seismograph, specific to higher education, is reclaimed everywhere today. This is precisely why, over the last decades, university is granted major attention in all countries characterised by rigorous programmes of development. There is a simple explanation: the more students it has per 1,000 inhabitants, the bigger the creative stance of a people becomes. Why? Because the resources of thinking, intellect, innovation can thus be better used and more rapidly introduced in the national circuit of values. The only condition which the Romanian university education presently aspires to, is that the future specialist is trained in the quality regime of the real initiative and capacity of creation. Hence the forming of a well-structured personality, rather than the still often encountered mindset of the obsolete and formal assimilation of information. For the university graduate to be a creator of values, more than a mere product and user of these values. He should forego and prepare a new phase of development, instead of just using the previous one.
From this perspective, the Romanian higher education has reached an increasingly dramatic phase. Also because of the budgetary resources under the minimal limit accepted in other countries. Budgetary resources whose minimisation effectively leads to the discrimination of many youths coming from the poor categories of population. These youths cannot sustain the impoverishing tuition fees, so the respective discrimination leads to the creation of an anti-education current in Romania. Moreover, the dramatic condition of our higher education also results from the fact that present-day Romania does not have clear targets of development. The notion of “EU integration” is very relative as long as the refusal to accept us in the Schengen space ignores the fact that Romania fully met the due conditions. This repeated refusal exclusively relates to the migration of the Roma, which occurs even without Romania’s access to the Schengen Zone.
Can the market economy, so frequently invoked by Romanian politicians in relations to all these dramas, be our main, perhaps our only essential objective? Categorically not, because market economy exists in a mostly agricultural country as well as in a highly industrialised one; where private property has precedence in the economic system, as well as where state property has its well-defined role. There are countries with both market economy and a high potential of scientific research, which currently export intelligence; and there are also countries with a market economy that content themselves with the condition of raw materials exporter. This is why the concept of market economy can be only a general and minor indicator in the development strategy of a country. Such a strategy must be conceived upon much more complex criteria, such as the degree of assimilation of the IT, the capacity of assimilating and improving high technologies, the promotion of peak sectors in industry, agriculture, tourism etc.
In these conditions, when we do not precisely, systematically know what we know on a long term, where we are heading to and where we must arrive, when financial resources are dwindling, a restrictive reform of education becomes a way of legitimising the involution, i.e. a nonsense. Without the essential reference criterion of the future, how can one reform the education system? It is no surprise that even well-meant reforming initiatives lead to results that are contrary to their purposes. Thus, some Romanian university sectors, with impact on the multilateral development of the country, enjoy a continuously diminishing attention. It is true that the explosion of industrial and agricultural unemployment, especially regarding the highly-educated experts, decreases the interest, also of young generations, for such professions, but this precisely is the decisive reason for higher education to enjoy a multilateral support from decision makers. Especially as training sectors like polytechnic, agriculture, medicine, civil and industrial constructions etc. cannot be found in the structure of private higher education.
In the absence of a substantial logistical and financial support granted by the governments, in their succession, the traditional and positive attributes of the Romanian higher education, such as autonomy of universities, the organic links between theory and practice in the training of the future specialist, his involvement – as early as in his student years – in the scientific research activity, along with innovation and superior management, register ever more centrifugal and regional tendencies that undermine the fundamental unity of university-related exigency. Plus, they also undermine the capacity and spirit of cooperation of universities in the interest of the strategic general interest. This explains the almost complete disappearance of inter-university meetings, also among student associations and leagues. Because of this, their solidarity on goals of national interests is steadily diminishing and their protests, missing such goals, are often useless.
The ways of our higher education sector, which in the past was a landmark of high-profile intellectual activity, today tends registering as many value degrees as university centres in Romania. The quality of stimulus and binder of national values can be found to an ever smaller extent in our university structures, while their anticipative capacity of preparing the future economic, social and cultural realities is eroded until disappearance. Because of this, the remarkable missionary attitude of Romanian university personnel, as a spiritual ferment in strengthening the self-awareness of the Nation and in exerting the European role of our state at the Mouths of the Danube, is today largely extinct. And it is a shame that this wasting took place, so hard to recover.
The only salvation can be a resurrection at the scale of the entire society, which will return it on the track of a truly national organic development. On the track of using the superior way all the nation’s resources of thinking, work, and creation. This is the ideal we like to associate with the university year 2013-2014.