Approximately 3.2 million pupils from all over the country went to school yesterday after a summer holiday that was extended by one week; however their Easter holiday next year will be one week shorter. The 2012-2013 school year nevertheless features several changes, the most important of them being the introduction of the preparatory class in the primary system, the so-called “zero class,” and of the professional baccalaureate as an option for 12th graders that no longer want to continue their studies. According to the Education Ministry, over 128,000 of the approximately 925,000 pupils registered in the primary system have signed up for the preparatory class, while approximately 171,000 of them have signed up for the first grade. The 2012-2013 school year consists of 36 weeks of classes, the first semester set to end on December 21. The second semester will start on January 14, 2013, and will last until June 21, being interrupted by the spring holidays on April 6-14.
Preparatory class back to kindergarten as of next year
Attending the opening ceremony at the ‘Spiru Haret’ National College in Targu Jiu Premier Victor Ponta stated that from his point of view it is necessary and useful for the “famous preparatory class” to be included in the kindergarten system starting next year, claiming that the authorities “have given parents headaches.” He underlined that no child can have “a real chance in life” without a high-performing education system and thanked the teachers that are doing their job despite having small salaries. On the other hand, Ponta drew attention to the issue of violence in school, stating that the government will collaborate with the Interior Ministry and Education Ministry in order to combat the phenomenon.
The idea of restoring the preparatory class to the kindergarten system was also backed by Education Minister Ecaterina Andronescu, who stated that the authorities have faced a lot of difficulties in preparing the necessary classrooms, claiming that an audit will take place after the first semester in order to see the real situation. She pointed out that the chemical and physics laboratories have been eliminated from schools and gym halls have been divided in order to make room for preparatory classrooms. According to Andronescu, the sum invested by the ministry for the furniture needed by preparatory classroom totaled RON 26 M, the efforts made in order to properly equip the preparatory classrooms being significant.
Basescu satisfied with preparatory class and professional education
Far from the media’s prying eyes and from the parents’ possible criticism, President Traian Basescu issued yesterday a message for the pupils that started the new school year, a message delivered by Daniel Funeriu, presidential aid on education issues, at the opening of the Kronstadt German Professional School in Brasov. “This school year is a special one since it will feature two important novelties for pupils and parents, novelties Romania needs for its development: the introduction of relevant professional education and the introduction of compulsory education starting with the age of 6 years, which will start this year with the preparatory class,” Basescu stated. At the same time, he underlined that “the education system needs stability and predictability.” On the other hand, the President congratulated the pupils that chose to sign up for professional education, pointing out that this can be “the key to success in life for many youngsters but also to a more competitive economy,” and thanked the teachers because “irrespective of the difficulties Romania went through, they always served our pupils’ interest.”Constanta Mayor Radu Mazare (PSD) attended the opening ceremonies at the Nicolae Tonitza School in Constanta, dressed as an American pilot. Asked why he chose to dress like that, Mazare answered: “I explained to the children that in life they have to do two things: to be brave and to study.” Constantin Traistaru, Bucharest’s General School Inspector, stated on Monday that the start of the school year “seems to be more tumultuous as ever.” The school inspector pointed out that the recent events have brought the education system under the limelight but that in Bucharest the school year is starting in normal conditions, namely in proper conditions for pupils and with a teacher for every class. Constantin Traistaru stated that 30 schools lack a permit at Bucharest level. Asked if 30 children per preparatory classroom are not too much, Traistaru answered that he backed the measure because it helped avoid the introduction of three shifts. Traistaru also announced that each school in Bucharest will be inspected in the next two weeks.