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Bucharest
December 7, 2021
EDITORIAL

The practice of half-truths

School education in Romania beginning at the age of six , instead of seven as it used to, is fully justified, and not because a Court turned down parents’ request or because elsewhere the first school year start at five or six years old. Aping others, a first and foremost attribute of politically minded reasoning in Romania, does not apply in this case. Moving the school age forward by at least one year is called for by the psycho-somatic development of the new generation, who has access not only to various forms of positive information but also to behavioural models that send come contradicting messages, leading to an accelerated spiritual development of the very young. Yet, such evolution is not identical to all recipients, given the different family and social environment they live in. We should nonetheless notice that this differentiated psychological status is mostly influenced by the surrounding environment, and not the innate characteristics of the child, which explains why many of them finish primary or junior high school with very good results, despite an often awkward start due to a an initially deficient adjustment to the demands of the school curriculum.

However, the reverse situation is also likely, and that, since the involution or evolution over time of an individual’s natural traits cannot be quantified, which makes life quite unpredictable in a charming way sometimes.Therefore, splitting six year olds into some eligible to start school and others to attend a “preparatory class” represents a blatant discrimination. Firstly, because the psycho-somatic evaluation the children are submitted to with a view toward their distribution into the former or latter group is flawed on several accounts. The parents are required to bring from the family doctor, or paediatrician a medical certificate attesting that the preschooler is ‘clinically healthy/apt to attend school”. What then is the use for the psycho-somatic evaluation, given the fact such evaluations could differ from one evaluator to another, function of their own social or professional experience, or the specifics of the centres where such evaluations take place? But the circumstantial aspects of the evaluation itself could play a role in its outcome, as it could happen when a child faces the evaluator after, let’s say, an eventful trip, as it so often happens. The contradiction is further amplified by a potentially negative decision by the evaluator, which could be at odds with the doctor’s finding that the child is “clinically healthy/apt for school”.All such potential, but also real contradictions make the case against the discriminatory practice of  distributing six year olds to either “prep class” or the first grade of primary school. It would be natural for all the children of the age of six with such medical certificate to go into primary school instead.  Potential psycho-somatic differences could be alleviated by setting up specialised grades where the teacher tailors school education to the specifics of each of their students, which in turn would have a stimulating effect on the students themselves, and consequently contribute to a generational solidarity feeling being forged.We shouldn’t forget that the first class year tradition could be a strong solidarity bond among those born in a given year, a sort of fraternal brotherhood based on one’s year of birth. And the seeds of such solidarity contributing to national identity emerges since the first primary school grades where children, who are so much different from one another, nonetheless establish spiritual bonds whose luminous memory becomes magnified with the passage of time. Obviously, this solidarity feeling very much depends on the educational abilities of their first teacher, qualities honed over time, and not just within the confines of a “psycho-somatic evaluation” a mere couple of minutes long. This also explains why the great Romanian writers, art or science figures, at the height of their achievement, insisted on bringing their homage to their “inspirational” educators able to cultivate student confidence in their own abilities, irrespective of their momentous features.Facing up to the chaos of “psycho-somatic” discrimination to which the six years old are subjected, several parental groups sued the Education Ministry. The courts ruled in favour of the “prep class” reasoning only validates the school training beginning at the age of six and by no means the psycho-somatic discrimination of children. Yet, despite the evaluation stage being completed, and the continuing discrimination, many parents would not accept the Education Ministry solution, opting to wait until their children turn seven, in the hope the situation will get clearer one year from now. Two of the federation unions too chose to adopt such wait-and-see tactics, on grounds of lack of available class space and the number of educators required.In their turn, the government decision makers chose to turn a blind eye to the issue, saying no such organizational problems exist, as the number of six years olds is much lower than that of 8th grade graduates. However, this is but a half-truth, since the teaching staff and the classrooms required for children to go to school at the age of six cannot be offset by the surplus of the latter group given the increasingly fewer students caused by the demographic collapse. This collapse makes government decision makers upbeat about their organizational abilities, neglecting the fact that a half-truth equals a whole lie.

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