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Bucharest
March 6, 2021
EDITORIAL

The alienation of the youth

“The Romanian public has been in shock over a recent case at a boarding house belonging to the theological school in Husi, Vaslui County, where a student stabbed and severely wounded a fellow student.”

The European tradition, and mostly the Romanian one, has shown a special respect to two age brackets. Children and senior citizens. The children are a symbol of the future, and the old, the fountain of wisdom that ensures a natural evolution from past, through present and into the future.

It’s been some time since Romania has been struggling to overcome the social and economic hardships which prompted senior citizens to take to the streets in protest at the ever worsening life condition they have to grapple with. However, the middle-aged don’t fare much better either, as half of Romania’s entire population is living below the poverty line. This explains why many young parents choose to go to work abroad, while their offspring, children and pre-teens, remain at home, in the care of old people, who are poor, hopeless and sick, and  is also the root-cause of the devastating sufferance of the young generation of Romanians.

The children missing their parents who have been working abroad for years, or settle there for good, is the most devastating factor. Romania has close to 50,000 such children, a special form of abandonment. UNESCO has drawn attention to the fact that nowhere else in this world both parents of a child go to work abroad. While in Africa emigration is much broader a phenomenon, it nonetheless does not involve both parents, as mothers usually remain at home to take care of their children.

This situation leads to the children left behind becoming marginalized, neglected and hopeless too, the incipient stages of a process of alienation that makes some of them end up in care centres for underage children, although the bulk of them become homeless. At nearly 25,000, Romania still has the highest mortality rate in infants under one year of  age across Europe, and such records hold up to 18 years of age and beyond, , given the high rates of cardio-vascular , lung, renal diseases and diabetes, and even AIDS. “Ethno-botanical” drugs wreak havoc too.

The alienation of the youth continues education wise too, with the school dropout rate increasingly. Illiteracy is also rising and threatening to become the steepest hurdle in the way of the social, economic and cultural development of this country as an EU member, given all modern development projects suppose a high cultural and scientific competence level for all its inhabitants. The success story is no longer assured by financial investments alone, but also involves investing in ideas, stimulating individual creative capacity, which is exactly the opposite of the personality deficit of a worryingly-high proportion of Romanian youth.

A personality deficit which, unfortunately, causes a mood of aggression that often turns to crime, as juvenile delinquency is at its highest rate ever in Romania, with  many thefts and acts of vandalism on public property committed by an increasingly high number of underage children. The feeling of physical and moral alienation does not always grow less beyond that stage either. The Romanian public has been in shock over a recent case at a boarding house belonging to the theological school in Husi, Vaslui County, where a student stabbed and severely wounded a fellow student.

And, unfortunately, such cases are not a seldom occurrence. A recent sociological survey reveals that that over 12 per cent of high school pupils think of either killing themselves or committing murder. This is no news by any means. The images of the two underage twins found hung, embracing each other, in a Cluj park, a few years ago should have shattered the conscience of any government official, obviously in the case they have one.

Why is it that annual spending for alcohol, tobacco or some such other destinations often exceed state budget funds allocated to education and culture? While are there no psychological and pedagogic counselling for youth? Why is it that pre-school education experiences a chronic shortage of nursery homes and kindergartens? Who is accountable for the shortage of school buildings created by their being returned to former owners, despite promises this would not happen, given the social importance schools hold.

Who is accountable for the much-talked education reform, which failed to bring the promised modernization and compressed teaching yet managed to do away with the educational value of school manuals and syllabus? So much so that today’s lessons lose sight exactly of what is of essence, namely the pupils picking the right role model, a thing increasingly difficult to accomplish, given the plethora of aberrant television appearances by all kinds of stars, including porno stars. It doesn’t matter, as long as they are stars!
This is how the many sources of youth alienation are as many factors undermining the future of Romania! Who can just stand and watch these bad omens?

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