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March 5, 2021

The tragedy of lonely children

All over the world young generations fully identify themselves with the hope for a better future. People are looking for the outlook of the generally unpredictable future in the present condition of youthful years. And when the youngsters’ configurative data are starting to leave much to be desired threats to the very raison d’etre of every community appear. Unfortunately, today’s Romania is on the verge of this tragedy, unknown until today. The studies, analyses, including the daily observations, abound in certifying an ever increasing number of lonely, confused, desperate and even abandoned children. For instance, in 2012 alone almost 1,500 children were abandoned by their parents in Romanian maternities immediately after birth. Many other children were abandoned at night on the doorsteps of wealthy families or of various institutions. Other children were simply discarded immediately after birth.

Did I say “simply”? No, such cases are appalling tragedies, they despise, kill many of the millennia-old values of humanity. The tragedy of many children continues after their birth too. Because of multiple causes such as the amplitude of their parents’ physical and moral poverty, of their growing illiteracy and of an increasingly deficient maternity care that matches the ridiculous budget earmarked for it. So that Romania continues to register, for several years now, the highest infant mortality rate in the EU. This fact alone, related to the current negative demographic index, threatens Romania’s future. A threat that, at least for now, cannot be lessened because of several causes: the poverty which affects approximately 46 per cent of Romania’s citizens, the emigration of parents who are looking for jobs and, consequently, the incidence of family dissolutions. Over 350,000 Romanian children have at least one parent working abroad and they are usually left in the care of their grandparents, who in their turn often are lonely, sick and in despair. Hundreds of thousands of other children are left “in the care of the parents” but since most of the latter are themselves traumatized by the lack of means of subsistence such children only manage to see their parents at night.That is why today many children and adolescents are depressed, cannot communicate, not even with themselves, massively skip school or even abandon it. Over 3 million school absences were registered in the first semester of this school year in Bucharest alone. At national level the figure reaches astronomical levels. Consequently, there is no longer a surprise that juvenile violence and delinquency, going as far as murder, is unstoppably growing. Sometimes with the contribution of irresponsible factors from the Education and Health Ministries too, since the proportion of school absences is growing because they are automatically authorized by “sick notes.” As if all those skipping classes are by definition sick. But who knows? Today the illnesses of childhood and adolescence are not only medical but also behavioral. This is the source of the ample violence seen in schools, around schools and on the streets, violence in which youngsters are either the aggressors or the victims. A teenage student was beaten and stabbed several times by several hoodlums that had abusively but easily entered the “H. Coanda” High School in Tulcea. A student that took part in the Valentine Day’s Pram in a high school in Huedin was attacked with pepper spray and paralyzed because of the spirit of violence that reigns in and around schools. A student in Botosani stabbed a taxi cab driver for the simple reason that he was asked to pay for the ride. Another 9th grader was mortally stabbed by “a colleague” in Targoviste while he was going home from school. And such cases, through their ever growing abundance, have ended up being “simple” casual cases that the authorities are no longer really interested in. The social and moral crisis in which the young Romanian generation struggles has many other causes that should be eliminated. But until reaching this ideal stage, the possibility lying within everybody’s reach today is the spreading of good quality literacy. The “general,” “mandatory” and “free” attributes characteristic of the current Romanian education system, in order to be plenary manifested, need one other characteristic: the quality of school training. It’s not enough to have free and mandatory education if its quality leaves much to be desired. Eliminating layoffs and filling in all teaching staff jobs is not a “jump” – as politicians used to brag – if the training and competence of the personnel still leaves much to be desired. It is not natural – as some local barons claim – for school training to be taken from under the authority of national imperatives and handed over to the regional “group” interests. The unity of ideal of young generations will be abandoned in this way. And abandoning the young generations’ unity of ideal and behavior would lead to Romania breaking apart as a state and being thrown in a conglomerate of fiefdoms with pretenses of federalization. Decentralization has to be excluded from the education domain, a fundamental domain given its unity and organic character. The training of young generations has to exclusively bear in mind the strategic national interest, not the anti-state and anti-Romanian whims of local leaders. Unfortunately, precisely such abnormalities are winning ground today through the irresponsible behavior of political factors. And these abnormalities are starting off from children’s access to kindergartens. An access that is often discriminatory, sometimes even refused, although it is well known that the modernity and quality of the education system depend on its incipient stages. In the current school year, just like in previous years, a high number of children aged 2-5 “did not find” places in kindergartens. Since in Bucharest alone over 6,000 children waited a long time for a place in kindergartens what shares must these injustices reach in rural areas? Where even school-age children are forced to cover on a daily basis, often on foot, very large distances to and from schools located in neighboring localities. This is the source of many of the current contradictions of the Romanian education system. Because the pre-school education system has a great importance for the organic character of each class, for its spiritual unity, for its solidarity. Especially in Romania where such attributes are increasingly rarely felt. The discriminations that appear at the level of pre-school training and of primary education grow in time up to the stage of each youngster’s behavioral collapse. A situation confirmed including through the fact that throughout life many events are forgotten but not those in the first years of education. Because the bases of future personalities are laid precisely in those years. Can we put a stop to the education system’s collapse? Yes, of course, but not “through the simple passing of time” as some political factors claim. First of all, there is an urgent need to focus all decisional factors across the board on the urgent solving of the most serious problem: the tragedy of lonely children. Going to quality schools is the only successful way.

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