EDITORIAL

Does Romanian school educate jobless and emigrants?

The education system was among the first sectors included on the list of negotiations for Romania’s accession to the European Union, and it rapidly passed this exam. The success was considered, first by westerners, both a proof of democratic and modern education, showing that in Romania this sector enjoys complete social adhesion, as prerequisite to the evolution of the society. Soon, however, to the stupour of the general public, new contradictions appeared in the Romanian education, which generated ever-increasing unrest. Some of the most powerful social protests in Romania took place precisely in this sector, and the problems that motivated them amplify each year. The fact that Education is allocated only 3.5 pc of the GDP, instead of the elementary 6 pc, added to the salaries in this field, which are very low compared to other professions, while the number of schools diminishes along with their technical and scientific endowment strongly illustrates the sub-mediocre conditions of the Romanian school these years.

Not only the successive economic crises, but also the political ones, due to ruling authorities that only care about material condition, transformed the Romanian education into a contradictory space. This explains the fact that knowledge, from its historic condition of general aspiration among Romanians, is today at a very low level of attention. School abandonment, with its virtual attribute which is illiteracy, raises towards 18-20 pc, a figure that is not very often encountered today. Teachers with remarkable cultural-scientific skills are compelled to renounce obtaining a job in school, because of the many acts of discrimination present in this sector. These problems are made more acute by decentralisation and regionalisation, which leaves the fate of school institutions in the hands of mayors that are often rather uneducated. Recently, a TV channel aired an emotional interview with a young Romanian teacher from Covasna County who, with tears in her eyes, asked the public to provide a modest financial aid in order to improve the learning conditions in the school where she worked, situated in a muddy and impoverished village. Even if it were singular – which is not the case – such an example should wake up the conscience of Romanian ruling authorities. Their unresponsiveness to the tears caused by this suffering illustrates the real nature of their conscience.
Unfortunately, such suffering is widespread throughout our education system. A recent sociological research, conducted on a large scale in the higher education institutions of Romania, illustrates the fact that, out of 100 students, only 65 graduate a university. There even are prestigious universities where the percentage of abandonment reaches 50 pc. There are three main reasons for this situation: the collapse of the democratic character of the access to higher education. First, the increasingly high tuition fees are insurmountable obstacles for the aspirations of students. Second, wrong option for a certain faculty. Why wrong? Because the respective option does not rely on the individual vocation, the passion for a certain profession. Under the pressure of poverty, more parents advise their children to choose a faculty not because of their vocation, but hoping to have a better paying job when they graduate. Children usually take their parents’ advice until the moment when they realise that they have no attraction for the respective profession, which transforms their university studies into torment. The third reason derives from the first two: the illusion of emigration, or of turning to disputable actions, makes many students abandon their studies.
This alienation can be subject to many debates. Some rightfully accuse the lack of counseling for the youths, in view of choosing the right profession. Others accuse, also rightfully, that instruction is no longer correlated with education in the unity of the pre-university education system. The individual passion for a specific school discipline is often ignored. Plus the lack of synthesis capacity, which unfortunately is also present in the case of some teachers. But the main reason of the disinterest for education is the extent of the unemployment which also affects the graduates of higher education. Over 40 pc of university graduates each year immediately go into unemployment, after taking their degrees. There are two reasons for this problem:
1 – The low quality of the professional activities from many companies, private or state-run. In the primitive conception of some employers, the young university graduate who applies for a job is not appreciated for his school results, but for the way he performs some minor professional operations. The capacity of innovative synthesis, the prospective and anticipative vision alas do not belong to the preferences of employers in Romania. Not sure about the duration of their business, the employers – usually immigrants to Romania – prefer to live in the present, a “carpe diem” detrimental to the entire Romanian society.
2 – Because of poverty, more baccalaureates from rural regions cannot continue their education in a university and are compelled to choose education variants that are cheaper or closer to their home villages. After they graduate these courses, they are the first victims of unemployment, because the jobs suitable for their profile are far away, or inexistent. Thus, the emigration of young specialists from rural areas is on an upward trend.
It is known that, even in the countries that oppose Romania’s access to the Schengen Space, young specialists from Romania are well received due to their professional competence and their acceptance to work on the lowest wages. If someone calculated the losses caused by the emigration of our specialists, who were educated with money paid by the Romanian state, the figure would be astronomic. This is why nobody in a position of authority dares to make public this figure.

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