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Education minister urges rectors to ‘clean up universities’

A new Academic year was officially opened yesterday, amid financing and personnel issues.

Attending the opening ceremonies at the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicines in Cluj, Education Minister Daniel Funeriu stated that this year’s Baccalaureate exam represented the first step towards making Romanian education credible once again and gave several advices for rectors and university senates. “I want to give the rectors an advice: clean up the universities. This school year has taught us that it is possible to put a stop to fraud in Romania. What happened at the Baccalaureate made credible once again an exam that had lost its credibility during the last 20 years because of frauds. This year saw the first step towards making Romanian education credible once again. My advice for you, esteemed rectors, is to clean up the universities. Let the teachers flunk the students that fail to fulfill the standards,” Funeriu stated, being quoted by Realitatea online. The Minister encouraged rectors to eliminate unjustified taxes but also asked them to eliminate plagiarists and nepotism.


UNIVERSITY YEAR FRAUGHT WITH PROBLEMS


Facing a ten per cent drop in the number of students each year, the Romanian tertiary education system is entering a financing crisis, a ‘Gandul’ article shows.


The new university year announces the continued depopulation of Romanian faculties. The crisis is first of all translated through the increasingly small number of tax-paying students, a fact that entails a drop in revenues and automatically lower budgets. Basically, since 2007 the number of tax-paying students has constantly dropped by ten per cent each year and if the trend is maintained universities could lose their self-financing capabilities in 20 years’ time.


Two years ago the number of tax-paying students stood at 280,000, while in 2008-2009 that number dropped by 30,000. 2010 brought a new negative record: 230,000 tax-paying students. This year, apart from the problems having to do with the insufficient number of students’ hostels and with insufficient financing, the students could also face teaching staff problems, according to an article published by ‘Evenimentul Zilei.’ Following the 25 per cent salary cuts the assistant professors’ salaries now range from RON 600 to RON 900. A lecturer – position that can be filled in only by holders of Ph.D. degrees – earns around RON 1,200. “The risks are that if this situation persists some will lose their motivation because they are left with little money and they have worries and debts,” Constantin Stoenescu, Deputy Dean of the University of Bucharest’s Faculty of Philoso­phy, stated for ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ daily.

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