EDITORIAL

Baccalaureate, a national drama

The recently-concluded baccalaureate examination, rightly considered as the mirror of the whole pre-educational educational is free-falling, a collapse decision-makers hide under the guise of various tricks. We recount how, two years ago, the education minister at the time provided a very original explanation for the poor baccalaureate results. “Yes” – the minister said – current results are a great deal poorer than those in previous years, but this very thing shows my ability to crackdown on corruption in the education system. However, as the results have grown poorer, this means that either corruption persists, or it is the system structure itself that is at its root, or both. Fraud attempts, albeit unsuccessful, were registered this year too, among both the pupils and the teachers.
Yet the current educational system as a whole  is most often  the cause of baccalaureate failures, along with the moral, social and political fabric of this society, where the notion of success is mistaken by the young generations mostly for fraudulent or at least doubtful success stories.

Since Romanian legislation still doesn’t require ministers, presidential advisers and other decision-makers are not obligated to complete their studies, as they should. Furthermore, some of the richest businessmen in this country don’t necessary have high studies, reason for which some are arrogant enough to say that “school sometimes produces idiots”, although this is untrue. Romanian baccalaureate graduates, winners of scholarships at reputed universities abroad are admired even by foreigners.
The prospect of unemployment among intellectuals, poverty, the corruption and  arrogance of political cronies, social discriminations create a background little favourable to learning. This also explains the high school dropout rate and growing illiteracy to circa 20 pc. As if that was not enough, an educational gap has been created between the rural and urban environment, a said reality showed by this year’s baccalaureate as well. In the first baccalaureate session this year, the passing rate was nil or close to nil in over 50 technical high schools attended mostly by rural youth. The number of candidates this year could have exceeded 300,000, including participation by those who flunked the exam in the previous year, of whom only 171,000 took the examination, a figure that dropped to 145,000 after the first run of tests. And at the autumn session, at 25 pc, both the attendance and the passing rate were below expectations, despite preparatory classes were held, which were attended by a small number of candidates.
Hence, invigorating school training values does not exclusively depend on ministry initiatives, since a mostly prospective concept is what the system needs. Educational flaws need to be avoided in the first place, and only then combated, eliminating the social and moral flaws the first thing to deal with There could not be any overall solution until sports federations stop defrauding the special baccalaureate session for Olympians, or as long as Roma federations, representing an ethnic group with many illiterates, won’t stimulate children to attend school. While positive discrimination is legal and welcome as well, it is this very principle encroached on by Roma NGOs allowing some Romanian families, in exchange for money, to have their children “certified” as Roma to have access to some high schools where you can hardly get in with an average mark of nine, despite their having a mere five, and on and on.
Also, the disputes on the provisions in the education law involving the parents’ associations continue, too, preventing the finding of an optimal solution, with education officials urging pupil-focused, and the parents, teacher-centred  education, when the best solution should be a combination of the two resulting from the creative dialogue between teachers and pupils. For next year, the ministry proposes a differentiated baccalaureate, type A and B. The former, also called national baccalaureate, will allow graduates to access university studies. The latter will be predominantly professional and its graduates cannot use it to take university admission tests, a provision that relegates its candidates to an inferior level of training. The optimum solution would be an educational system where social and economic differences are no longer conducive to a children having discriminatory status, with the lack of quality school training being recovered, and not hidden under the guise of an apparently reconciling solution. Recouping quality education is an imperative called for exactly by Romanian families being so different from one another nowadays. Therefore, support for school training is to a great extent broken to pieces, the chief cause of the poverty affecting more than 50 pc of Romanians. Poverty maintains a negative demographic ratio, to such extent that schools get closed in some localities, or transformed into pubs and gambling places instead, and that, under the reckless protection of chaotic decentralization.
Baccalaureate results are but a faithful mirror of the critical times Romania has been going through. The return to normal education should start from the level of state organization.

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