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3 million students started school year, PM pleads for education reform

The bell rang yesterday for about 3.200.000 school and preschool children who have started 2014-2015 school year amid scandal regarding lack of school books for first and second grade pupils. The new school year will have 36 weeks counting 177 working days and 34 days of vacation. It started also with new regulation for the organization of pre-university education system with special conduct rules for teachers, children and parents.
According this new regulation, a special focus will be on the school frequency. An educational contract will be signed by schools with parents or legal tutors of children to stipulate the mutual obligations.
Prime Minister Victor Ponta called on students, parents and teachers to understand that the education system has to be reformed and a switchover to the future’s education should occur.
”I am calling on parents, teachers and students to understand that in 2014 we have to switch to what the future’s education means, even if a bit late. No new textbooks and no new curricula have been designed over the past 10 years. Teachers and parents used to tell us that the world changes, the education system changes and someone needs to have the courage to come up with new textbooks, with curricula for the academic year 2015-2016. There is not a single student who does not know how to use a tablet, a personal computer; I think the idea of digital manuals is a reform we have to conduct,’ Ponta told a ceremony on Monday for the beginning of pre-university school year at the Tudor Vladimirescu National College of Targu-Jiu.
He added that improvements in school infrastructure will continue, extending thanks to the mayors and public administrations having got involved in the upgrading of the school network.
‘I want to also thank all the mayors and public administrations that have worked very much each year for the conditions of the infrastructure to be continually improved. We tried and continue to try to invest money in educational infrastructure, because I believe any penny thus invested is well invested,’ said Mr. Ponta quoted by Agerpres news agency.
He also conveyed a message to the teachers nationwide. ‘I want to convey a message of gratitude to all the teachers who, starting on September 15, will take care of children, young people and everyone in need of education. I know that the life of a teacher is difficult. We will try to mend the bad things of the past against teachers, to provide additional funds first of all in order to acknowledge a special part all teachers should play in a civilised society,’ said Ponta.
PM dismisses admission to university without baccalaureate exam
Previously PM Victor Ponta categorically dismissed the idea that Romanian youths might be admitted to university without the end of the high school exam or baccalaureate.
Ponta, who attended on Sunday the opening of a kindergarten at Dumbraveni, the northeastern Suceava county stressed the topic of having access to higher education with no baccalaureate diploma seems to him a ‘ridiculous matter’.
”Categorically no one can be admitted to university without the baccalaureate and these are lies I’ve heard from politicians. I am convinced it is not the media that circulates them’, he said.
The emergency ordinance no. 49 from 2014 and the Outline Methodology for the organization and functioning of tertiary non-university education do not allow access to higher education without the baccalaureate, Minister-delegate for Higher Education, Scientific Research and Technological Development, Mihnea Costoiu had said on Friday.
”No one can go to college anywhere in Romania without a baccalaureate, National Education Minister Remus Pricopie had also said in a release to AGERPRES on Friday.

ACL to submit simple motion on education
Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) deputy Raluca Turcan has stated that the Christian Liberal Alliance (ACL; formed by National Liberal Party – PNL and PDL) will submit a simple motion with the title “PSD pawns off education to acquire votes”, in which they request the resignation of the Minister of Education and withdrawal of Emergency Ordinance no. 49/2014. “ACL considers unacceptable the way in which PSD is managing Romanian education and has decided to submit, on Tuesday, the simple motion “PSD pawns off education to acquire votes”. Ponta is in a cynical and sad way a potential candidate for the Book of Records. PSD has overturned the values in Romanian education and is cynically telling first and second grade pupils that if you don’t have books you may still learn. In that same way it says, disdainfully, to those who finish high-school that whether you study or not you can still get a diploma”, said Turcan on Monday in a press conference, quoted by AGERPRES. She added that the simple motion is focused on Emergency Ordinance no. 49/2014, that “overturns the already fragile system of values centered on performance and quality in education”. In the opinion of the Democrat Liberal deputy this ordinance excessively politicizes education at both a pre-universitary and universitary level.
“This Ordinance 49/2014 must be turned back from its path of destruction of the educational system. ACL requests Ponta Government  the appropriate financing for Romanian education, not amendments of the law done in favor of the parasitic groups near PSD”, said Turcan.

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