A first for Romania: Top performing pupils could compress two years of studies into one

The Ministry of Education put the proposal up for public debate.

The Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sports (MECTS) has submitted to public debate, for the first time ever in this country, a proposal stipulating that junior and senior high pupils could concentrate two years of studies into one.

In order to qualify, candidates must have top notch performance and the ability to insert themselves in a higher-grade class. Teachers say that, while exceptional pupils must be encouraged, squeezing two years into one should only be allowed for those pupils previously submitted to a rigorous psycho-pedagogical evaluation.

Mandatory pupil health evaluation is another MECTS proposal up for public debate. Under this proposal, pupils who take drugs, drink alcohol and those with sexually transmitted diseases will be diagnosed as such, starting this coming autumn. The Education Ministry even made up a detailed list of medicines at school doctor’s offices, aimed at treating such conditions. Pupils however don’t see such prospect with good eyes. “I myself must agree with it, they must have my, the parents’, agreement to do that. They should better give us some advice, not just say: this one smokes, that one does this or that,” Realitatea TV quoted a pupil as saying. “If I want to undergo those tests, I myself will go to the doctor. I don’t think school needs to get involved,” a girl pupil said.

Adriana Cosiac, a coordinating school doctor, holds a different view: “Drug and alcohol use are rather frequent,” she said, suggesting that the Ministry’s initiative should be welcomed. Actually, her statement is confirmed by increasingly worrying figures on alcohol consumption in schools: more than a quarter of the pupils have gotten inebriated over the past 12 months. No later than yesterday, a 12-year-old boy from Mehedinti was admitted to hospital in a coma, after drinking several glasses of cherry brandy in the schoolyard, instead of being in class. According to Antena 3, an ambulance was called at the scene by his classmates, who got really scared to see their mate feeling sick. Mehedinti authorities opened an investigation. The child is still in hospital, but will be discharged in the next couple of days.

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