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December 6, 2022

Demography vs. education

The results of the 2011 census, recently made public by the National Statistics Institute, with some incongruence that risks turning the public attention away from the serious issues – demographic, sanitary, educational etc. – which confront Romania today. For instance, the number of people aged above 18 amounts to 16,269,839 but – according to INS – this number is not equivalent to that of the people with the right to vote. This is a source of contradictions over validating the 2012 referendum for the impeachment of the acting president of Romania. The threshold of 50 pc plus one of the respective figure is 8,134,920, with the number of voters in the referendum of 29 July 2012 being 8,459,053, which is above the threshold. Those who reject this conclusion start from the fact that the real number of Romanians who emigrated and have the right to vote is above 2 million. But this figure is not taken into account by the census.

If taken into account, it results that the threshold of 50 pc plus one has not been reached in the aforementioned referendum, hence it is justly invalidated.
Under the pressure of such contradictory opinions, which appeared even at the level of government and presidency, the so-called “goodwill politicians” try to appease the spirits by outlining the positive aspects. They invoke the fact that the number of higher education graduates doubled during 2002 – 2011, from 7.1 pc to 14.4 pc of Romania’s stable population. It doubled, indeed, but the same analysts omit a very significant correlative: illiteracy, too, massively increased at the same time. A survey at EU scale dating 2011 placed Romania on a painful first place in Europe in terms of illiteracy, then evaluated at 150,000 people. The recent census indicates a number of 245,400 people who declared themselves illiterate. But the cruel reality, especially among ethnic Roma, shows us that not all subjects admit their condition of illiterates, hence the very plausible hypothesis about illiteracy being much higher and continuously increasing. Thus, the educational fault line keeps deepening in Romania.
This also happens because the major discrepancies between urban and rural areas multiply and increase incessantly. The Romanian village is ever more afflicted by poverty and the emigration of villagers towards towns amplifies as the demographic index decreases along with the criminal obstruction of births. A calculation in good faith proves that for the last 50 years, but especially since 1990, abortions increased to figures above 21 million. Never in its bi-millenary history had the Romanian people lost so many souls, more than the present population of the country. This quasi-general practice resulted in a population drop by about 7.2 pc over the last decade, along with its rapid ageing.
Not long ago, a report of the European Parliament warned that the reduction and ageing of the population in EU countries will generate a crisis 10 times more serious than the present economic crisis. This dramatic prediction can already be perceived in Romania, where the population of working age declines continuously, while the percentage of those who reached retirement age is on a perpetual increase. Hence the question about who will pay the pensions two or three decades from now, which nobody dares to answer even hypothetically. This is because Romania compromised its future over a long term, by borrowing tens of billions of EUR. Despite this reality, Romanian politicians of all orientations compete in making electoral promises, which they forget as soon as elections are over, under the pretended pressure of European integration.
Why cannot this much-expected integration start with a high level of health and education, specific to the EU? Why Romanian leaders from all parties ignore the fact that we have the highest child mortality in the EU? That the incidence of cardiovascular, lung and kidney diseases, of cancer, diabetes and mental illnesses increases permanently? The percentage of general mortality is much higher than the birth rate, also because Romania registers each year almost one million abortions and a dramatic drop in the number of marriages. The recent census shows that the number of widowed people is 10 pc of the total stable population, divorced people account for 4.2 pc and 745,500 persons live in “consensual unions.” These are all demographic realities.
In most such cases, precisely the poverty specific to Romania generates all these dramas. Poverty is indeed specific. In the – also specific – conditions of 4-5 pc of Romania’s inhabitants being immeasurably rich and seeing their wealth doubled every 3-4 years. This aspect is contradictory first because such billionaires do not make major economic investments and spend their money especially in all kind of adventures outside Romania. Plus, they do not have an outstanding scientific and cultural education and precisely this “quality” specific to billionaires pushes youths towards school abandonment.
This explains the fact that the psycho-social motivation of education in Romania is in free fall. Almost 20 pc of Romania’s children abandon school before the end of the mandatory education years. There are no tuition fees in Romania’s state education system, going to school is made compulsory by law, in theory, yet school abandonment is on the rise. Despite the fact that prospective studies everywhere show that, in the near future, there will be an unprecedented development of intellectual activity. The education and training process acquires an absolute priority in any modern society, being the most profitable investment on a long term.
In these conditions, it is clear that the economic-social and cultural imbalances between the countries of the world will deepen or, on the contrary, will be reduced in relation with the investment made in education by a country or another. Analysts from all over the world appreciate that precisely on this basis of the priority of the education investment will countries be able to “burn” the stages of underdevelopment. The investment in education can annihilate even the consequences of the negative demographic index, at least in the initial phases of its appearance. Then, by increasing the social creative power and living standards, thanks to a superior scientific and cultural education, can demographic balance be reborn, along with a superior family environment.

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