President Klaus Iohannis, in Constanta on Monday, at the festivity on the new university year opening, said that “to have a country like abroad, we need universities like abroad, in the first place.”
“Universities don’t only train good professionals, be them employees or entrepreneurs, they have the role to train good citizens and contribute to the development of the rule of law, on sustainable bases. Very many times we hear the phrase ‘We want a country like abroad.’ It can be done, but to have a country like abroad we need universities like abroad, in the first place. Universities that promote the truth, critical thinking and morality, in all their activities. For instance, I would like it if universities helped dismantle various ungrounded myths, which we still find in the public space. One of them, to refer to higher education, is the false myth according to which too many young people attend a faculty,” the head of state said at a ceremony marking the opening of the new university year 2017 – 2018 hosted by Ovidius Square of Constanta City.
According to him, our country is ranked last in the European Union, in respect to people aged 30 – 34, who graduated from a higher education institution.
“Romania is, in fact, and this is regrettable, last in the European Union, in terms of young people aged 30 – 34, who graduated higher education institutions, and this affects the competitiveness of our country and, implicitly, the welfare of us all. It doesn’t mean, however, that we must encourage the existence of some universities with serious educational management problems, only for the sake of statistics. Moreover, we mustn’t neglect the development of some professional routes, based on dual model, meant to represent a real alternative with social and material acknowledgement. We need high specialists, as well as well-qualified craftsmen. There are things that it would be good to be more often debated, in the public space and maybe even in Parliament,” Iohannis said at the event in Constanta which was attended by teaching staff and students of “Ovidius” University, the Maritime University of Constanta and the “Mircea cel Batran” Naval Academy.
“There are visible efforts of universities to eliminate verticality problems of academia”
President Klaus Iohannis also stated on Monday in Constanta that in order to fight ignorance and become a “moral benchmark and an anchor of the rule of law,” the Romanian universities must have a solid reputation, based on a high level of credibility.
“For years, this credibility has been shaken by a series of plagiarism scandals. Unfortunately, even today, we find excuses for not having a public data base of PhD thesis. Moreover, we don’t have a permanent solution for accrediting PhD schools. All these problems can affect the credibility of our graduate’s diplomas on an international level, putting in disadvantage even the youngsters who put in considerable efforts to successfully complete their studies. It is not acceptable to mock their efforts, out of the wish to protect the personal reputation of a number of individuals who wanted a career or an academic title for which they weren’t truly prepared. It is not right for a Romanian patent to be placed equally with one of the Western Europe,” Iohannis stated.
He mentioned that universities are making efforts to eliminate the existing verticality problems of the academia.
“Fortunately, there are already visible efforts of universities to eliminate the existing verticality problems of the academia, from using anti-plagiarism softwares, to local initiatives of publishing the thesis on a institutional level. I endorse all those making such efforts and I encourage them to go further for the recovery of the academic life,” Romania’s President said.
According to him, as Romania develops, a part of the academic activity can be supported through encouraging and attracting talented youngsters towards the Romanian universities.
“Firstly, I refer to the top-graduates of our high schools, but also to the youngsters from other countries who are drawn by the specializations that Romania offers,” Iohannis mentioned.
The head of state also said that there is a need of sustainable efforts in order to make the Romanian higher education a truly attractive environment.
“This means simplifying the bureaucratic procedures and administrative processes, but also the development of a friendly and tolerant environment that will encourage foreign students to choose our country,” Iohannis also said.
“I choose to come to Constanta because it is an important university center”
He added that he values Constanta city as an important university center of our country.
“I am glad that we are together today, on the occasion of the opening of a new university year. I chose to come to Constanta because it is an important university center and the Navy civilian and military are eloquent examples of the high-level training they receive here. Your graduates are becoming benchmarks of competitiveness on the global market, especially in areas in which our country has a tradition in higher education. In addition, Romania’s presence at the Black Sea and our NATO and EU membership certainly represents assets that offer a sure advantage, which I want for you to better capitalise on the future, especially giving that you are here, where the European Union starts from,” Klaus Iohannis said in the speech he delivered.