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February 4, 2023

Senate turns down education regular motion

Senate on Wednesday rejected opposition Liberal Party’s regular motion on education issues, with 65 votes against it and 51 in favour. The motion, called ‘Education – from survival to collapse,’ was slammed by Education Minister Daniel Funeriu, present at Wednesday’s debates, as lacking the truth. He accused initiators of the motion that they want to “drag” the Education Ministry into an “anachronic political battle.” Funeriu also said that he would not blame his predecessors for education system problems although it would be easy and he underlined that the motion includes a total of 54 mistakes.

During debates, Liberal leader Crin Antonescu asked Funeriu to stop attempting to attribute the idea of education reform only to one party, the ruling Democrat Liberals. Antonescu also voiced doubts that Funeriu can reform education system by himself. Another opposition lawmaker, Social Democrat Ecaterina Andronescu, a former education minister herself, asked Funeriu not to associate with those who “discredit Romanian school” system. She underlined that the minister has promoted a draft law which is incompatible with democracy ideals and values.

The motion centred on the education law recently promoted by the government, arguing that the draft was developed in a nontransparent manner and in violation of a national pact on education issues, endorsed by all parties in 2008. The document also said Funeriu’s reform plans are wrong, as they include massive layoffs, low wages fro teachers, low investments.

No regular motion filed by the opposition so far has passed, as the ruling coalition maintains a frail, yet stable majority in both chambers. In Wednesday’s debates, lawmakers of the Democrat Liberals, Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania and the independents defended education reform plans and Funeriu. They also accused the opposition of attempting to bring down the education system, instead of supporting it.

PSD urges recall of education bill and resuming public debate

Social-Democrat Senators Ecaterina Andronescu and Ioan Mang urged, on Thursday, the ministry of Education, Daniel Funeriu, to recall the Education bill and resume dialogue and public debate. The senators accused the ministry of Education, in a press conference, of violating legal procedure in introducing the Education bill, by failing to organize a public debate on the bill before presenting it to the Government for approval and sending it into Parliament. Andronescu criticized on several counts the bill initiated by the Ministry of Education, blaming the current regime of trying, by proposed modifications, “to enhance control over universities and teaching institutions”.

On the other hand, Andronescu accused Minister Funeriu of treating social partners “disrespectfully” and of failing to engage in correcting unified salary law, towards better motivation for teachers.

“Unfortunately, education has been for many years now the Cinderella of Romanian society, and its budget is reminiscent of the latter’s day-time clothing,” the PSD former minister of Education argued.

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