Education can complement the birth rate


Every month of January, the line is drawn, the activity of the previous year is evaluated and predictions are made about the future. This global practice has been long adopted in Romania too, with the mention that, for the last decades, in our case the emphasis is laid on optimistic achievements and predictions, while pessimistic ones are simply ignored. This amplifies the big problems faced by Romania today, the most serious of which being the decline of the birth rate. If in 1989 Romania registered 370,000 newborns, in 2013 we only had approximately 200,000. This setback trend is present for many years and tends to aggravate in time. The process can be explained: the fewer inhabitants, the smaller the number of births. At a time when the struggle with poverty reaches new peaks.

Because of the physic and spiritual poverty, almost 1 million abortions are made in Romania currently. Some statisticians even claim that some 22 million abortions have been made since 1958, equivalent to the entire population of the country, at the level of year 1990. The tragic figure of 22 million abortions was reached by amplifying these tragic acts especially after 1989, when the respective self-mutilation of women was declared as “the attribute of individual freedom.” By this monstrous pretense of “European opening,” the number of abortions has increased every year toward the annual figure of 1 million. If to these fateful figures we add other tragic realities, including the fact that we have the highest percentage of child mortality in the EU, and the increasing incidence of cardio-vascular, lung, kidney diseases, diabetes, cancer and even AIDS, Romania’s fate seems to be sealed. Occasional representatives of ethnic minorities even warn us that, 150 years from now, Romania will change its national entity in favour of the respective minority, whose population increases each year at a faster pace than the decrease of ethnic Romanians.
This tragic reality cannot be blamed on Romanian women. Pregnant women are the only ones entitled to decide the fate of their fetus, especially as our current reality shows that the decision to make an abortion is often explained not through a possible irresponsible self-pride, but through the increasingly difficult living conditions. Which means that the main cause of the multiplication of abortions is the terrible poverty that has stricken, for many years, the majority of Romania’s population. Under the pressure of poverty, some 34 pc of Romania’s pregnant women never go to a doctor, because of the absence of money, transportation, or even doctors. So the child mortality rate soars each year, especially in rural areas, which are precisely the worst affected by the migration of the medical personnel. Although this emigration is sometimes painful even for the migrants, it nonetheless continues because the budget granted to the country’s medical sector stands at 4 pc of the GDP, while the European average of this indicator exceeds 11 pc.
Romania’s politicians of all colours do not excel at prediction capacity. They are prisoners of the present, a “carpe diem” pushed to the absurd which explains the fact that their measures aimed at increasing the child birth rate turn into their contrary. The material incentives granted to the families worst hit by poverty became a purpose in itself, vied by families of beggars, outlaws, illiterates, people hostile to any effort of professional improvement. The number of children in these interlopers’ families increases every year, indeed, but this also results in a higher illiteracy and juvenile delinquency in Romania. Because they are granted to such families, the incentives provided today by the Romanian state for combating poverty amplify the generalised poverty to even higher levels, encouraging the young generations to avoid the productive activity. Romania thus risks becoming a colony of the EU precisely because of its soaring offer of cheap unskilled labour.
And when does this happen? Precisely at the present phase, when many countries from all continents make remarkable efforts to develop highly-skilled professional activities. In these conditions, the process of training and education acquires a top priority, as the most profitable activity on medium and long term, while the profit source of social activity naturally moves from the sphere of the purchase of physical assets to that of the production of knowledge (intellectual capital). It is increasingly obvious that the development gaps between the countries of the world will widen or, on the contrary, will be bridged depending on the investment made in education by one country or another. Optimistic analysts appreciate that granting priority to the investment in education will help “burning” the stages of underdevelopment. It is a unique historic chance which every nation can use, depending first on how aware it is of this fact.
This awareness is missing in Romania today, under the pressure of local politicians that insist on administrative decentralisation, for extracting school units from their unitary, organic system and affiliating them with local administrations, which are different from each other. This is why school abandonment is amplified, many minors being affected by illegal labour that is abusive, sometimes even forced. Given the extent and complexity of this phenomenon, the interventions of central institutions do not produce the necessary positive effects. Also because they are limited to punishing the acts of illegal labour, while largely ignoring its causes and its prevention.
This deficit of prediction favours another problem: the incapacity to stimulate, support and increase the solidarity between the beneficial efforts manifest in the sphere of our civil society. There are Romanian and international foundations with remarkable profile and initiatives worthy of being better advertised and supported. Recently, I had the occasion to meet one of them in Bucharest: the Swiss foundation ‘Terre des Hommes,’ active for over 50 years at global scale, present in 34 countries, including Romania, dedicated to supporting children and improving their life. Such entities that help children everywhere to have an optimal development deserve the attention of the society and an increased support from everybody.

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