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March 23, 2023

New law changes examination, education structure once again

The new education law, which is not yet known when will come in force, brings yet again, major changes to the education system and examination procedures, according to several national newspapers, which see education reform as a never-ending process given the new modifications accompanying each new minister’s tenure. The new law introduces a new type of high school graduation examination consisting of two written tests, a new senior high school admission test and no more than four class hours a day for primary school pupils, according to ‘Gandul’ newspaper.

The bill Education Minister Daniel Funeriu is going to put before government next week is no less than the fourth version of the high school admission exam in the past five years, with the goal for all junior high school pupils to take a test in science, an examination in Romanian language and literature and a computer proficiency exam. Funeriu’s plan comes only six months after former minister Ecaterina Andronescu changed high school admission test criteria, replacing the single subject test papers, in place but for four years, with written examinations in Romanian language and literature, Math and History.

As under the new education law, senior high school will only be three-year long, grades 10 through 12 namely, pupils will be tested during the second semester of their 9th grade, with tests drafted in such a way to make pupils use the information acquired in class. “The focus is on cross-discipline testing, with pupils going to answer questions in mathematics and physics, for example. The second examination will test proficiency in Romanian language and communication, while the third is aimed at testing examinee speed in using computers. Pupils should have no problem with the computer proficiency test either, as the new law also stipulates specialty courses being introduced in grades 5 through 9,” ministry adviser Melania Vergu told ‘Gandul’.

Minister Funeriu announced Wednesday the law also incorporates the 9th grade in junior high school, a move he deems necessary in order to reduce the number of school dropouts. Pupils learning in rural areas would therefore be more motivated to attend the 9th grade, as they would not have to leave home at the age of 14 to attend high school in towns or cities. When this measure will be implemented is yet to be seen, with the Education Ministry to first make a thorough analysis at junior high school level, ‘Romania Libera’ daily newspaper writes.

Cutting down the number of school classes to 20 a week (4 a day) for grades 1 through 4, 26, 5 through 9, and 30, 10 through 12, is another change in the law. The first step to address school curriculum reform, which is commonly agreed to be quite bloated, will be an experimental one, with some tens of schools countrywide to be part of a pilot programme under which pupils will learn according to the new lesson plans and new disciplines. The number of disciplines in the curriculum is anybody’s guess for now. The school curriculum will however be thought in such way as to take 75 per cent of class time, with teachers to allocate the remaining 25 per cent according to the particular needs of the class.

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