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February 8, 2023

The pact with the future

“All’s well that begins well,” says a proverb. Indeed, on many occasions, the outcome of an initiative can be predicted based on its debut. As for the school year that just started, the beginning was not promising at all. Since the very first two weeks, absenteeism, indifference and – above all – violence are present in many schools. Just these days, two pupils pulled the knives at each other in a high school of Cluj-Napoca. In a separate incident, a 7th grader from Craiova was hit in the head with a chair by a 9th grader – a member of an urban gang. The victim fainted and the interloper ran away from school. In two other high-schools, of Valenii de Munte and Rovinari, schoolgirls fought each other with fists and kicks over issues that are still unclear. In Arad, the “boxing ring” was equipped even with a video camera, allowing pupils to “analyse” the fights subsequently.

Such incidents happen almost on daily basis, even in schools with video monitoring equipment, under the very eyes of the guards that keep watch at the entrance. All those in charge with enforcing discipline – bodyguards and teachers – often say they knew nothing about the incidents. And if they heard nothing, then nothing must have happened, even if news about the incidents got aired live on TV. However, the sad truth which the high officials of Education try to dissimulate or minimise still surfaces, showing its ugly and threatening face. A Bucharest-based centre of psychological research has found out that violence in schools today reaches an apogee. The frequent conflicts between pupils derive from a psychology specific to revenge, envy, terribleness and arrogance. All these are generated by the massive social and moral discrepancies, by the polarisation of poverty and wealth among pupils’ families, the indifference of parents at a time when the psycho-social motivation of learning collapsed under the pressure of money. When most people included in the top of millionaires are famous for anything but education, this collapse of social motivation of learning cannot surprise anyone.

Such contradictions are the main explanation for the discriminations suffered by Romania in the EU, coming from governments that are even more corrupt and, often, inherit a “colonial power’s past,” which today arrogantly jubilate over the “rule of law” and the “vital importance” of knowledge. This happens even if the laws of the respective states grant pupils free access to drugs that are illegal in Romania, even if Romanian children have outstanding results at school Olympiads where the teams representing our accusers fail to achieve any spectacular result, and even if their exports of food goods and flowers often contain killer bacteria, while Romanian wheat, agricultural and horticultural products are cleaner, with no pollutants. Is discriminating Romania also an effect of the envy provoked by its natural, traditional data? These data prove to be more advantageous in the ever stronger global fight against physical and physical and moral pollution.

Regardless of the answer to these questions, of the place towards which we are pushed through false and discriminating hierarchies, our rulers have the supreme, historic mission to secure instruction and education at highest standards for young generations. Invoking the economic crisis is not justified here. When they do not deliver emphatic statements, our rulers should start reading history books. When things were much worse than the economic and social crisis of today’s Romania, countries like Japan or Germany were able to overcome the destructions of World War 2, by laying emphasis on education, scientific research, innovation, and the creative thinking necessary to each member of the society. The only pact that can be concluded with the future is in Education, where conjectural factors must be cast away for good.

Unfortunately, the Romanian ministers of Education of the last two decades were conjectural factors themselves, motivated by the conflicts between their parties, rather than vocation, so each of them enforced his own vision about reforming the Education system. Their only common element was severing instruction from education, excluding the formative factor from school curricula. This is the source of violence in schools, absenteeism, and the use of drugs at very young ages, at a time when the collaboration between school and family is weakened by quasi-general poverty and the mass migration of parents. Poverty is both physical and moral. The latter explains the fact that the Parliament of Romania recently rejected a draft law that would have made uniforms mandatory, at least for primary and secondary schools.

The acting minister of Education boasts about his decision that allows the administration board of each school to accept or reject teachers on individual basis, starting with 2012. This however will increase the disintegration of the education system. Deprived of unitary principles and criteria at country scale, the Romanian education system risks being torn to pieces. Its quality takes as many levels as school boards exist. This is the fundamental reason for the collapse of the Romanian school, with its whole educational arsenal. And this is also where should begin the activity of a competent minister, who would display the dignity, authority and patriotism specific to Spiru Haret. But how many of our rulers still know who Spiru Haret was and what he achieved?

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