EDITORIAL

Best text book is the unique text book

How is it possible that even some personalities with a decisive role in the lead bodies, whose only reason for being is their impartiality, offer the surprise of some painful behavioural violations? They change their opinions from today until tomorrow, disconsider the truth and give in to underground pressure. They, who are supposed to develop objective and impartial judgements. Therefore, without occult curtains, without local interest or hierarchical considerations, but with the natural respect due to the truth and to all those who serve it. How current are, also from this point of view, Eminescu’s brilliant previsions according to which quality education will always be a culture of character and culture is first and foremost defined as education of the mind.

The educational endeavour therefore remains the safest way for the huge contemporary richness of information not to fragment and estrange the human being from his peers and himself, but to ensure a unity of character and conduct above any false consideration of opportunity and individual comfort. The funny thing that it is exactly the education of character that now suffers.
The cultivation of one’s character begins in the very first days in school. Thanks to the creating efforts of teachers whose passion, competence and commitment are the first weapons of our victory over the future. Naturally, the teacher is the core of educational value, but, in order to manifest himself plenary, he needs a whole didactic arsenal, starting with text books. The text book, this fundamental tool of instruction and education is now either missing or ignored. As it is including the defiance of character in the formula of dodgy deals. Numerous publishers attracted by the rich financing of school books often defy the demand of character. Why? Because only the manual of own production should end up in schools. In the latest years, every school, every class uses its ‘special’ text books. The diversity of approach of the so-called ‘alternative’ text books, missing exactly the spirit of complementarity, is now a mere ‘dispatch market’ governed by pure commercial rules. Publishers fight over the opportunity to produce school text books. There is one element that joins them: the fight against the unique text book.
Although it is obvious to any person guided by good intentions and respect for a value-based selection that ‘the best text book is a unique text book’. The exponents of the so-called alternative text books that have become rich exactly as a result of this contradiction blame the unique text book for being dictatorial. ‘Why force children to all think alike? Why not give them several options to interpret the information offered by school matters?’ At the end of the day, such interrogations attest to a dictatorial conception, formed because of lack of knowledge. The school text book is the foundation on which every young person’s capacity of understanding is built in time. And such foundation should be a unitary one and equally accessible to everybody, in order to remove discrimination mainly caused by the very diverse economic circumstances of families.
The single text book equally accessible to all children attest to the democratic character without which the foundation of national education becomes pulverised. It is known that education, alongside healthcare and national defence are the fundamental components of any national strategy. Any possible discrimination emerging in education and healthcare are deadly for any people. The specific mental, intellectual data a child is born with is not uniformed by the single text book. On the contrary, with the help of the single text book it is transposed to an organic correlation that is absolutely necessary for the majority of the components of every year and generation to  be included to solidarity, joint effort rather than the contradictory reaction that is so visible today.  Not the alternative text book with a group, clan or elite specificity, but the single, free text book, equally available to all children is the corner stone for a people’s unity and solidarity. This is the source of our national awareness.
The large-scale illiteracy also met in Romania is due to the same elitist and discriminatory claims with which all the post-December governments have treated the Romanian system of education, beginning with the text books. National scorn therefore started with undermining the authority of its own publishing house by the very ministry of education. The Didactic and Pedagogic Publishing House has been operating in Romania for almost half a century. It was especially developed to publish single school text books as well as university lectures, pedagogical works, monographic treaties and studies, chrestomathies, translations from universal pedagogical literature so on and so forth. Works that, due to their organic and complementary character, were for the use of pupils and students, as well as teachers, scientific researchers, parents, regular readers. It was one of the most prolific and prestigious Romanian publishing houses, as well as one of the most profitable. Even with the free distribution of text books to children beginning in the 1960s.
Unfortunately, the importance of this publishing house has been successively diminished under the guise of decentralisation and privatisation. In order to publish and print school text books, the ministry now needs to hold tendering procedures with several competing publishers. Which, to a certain point, is perfectly all right, because of the quality of the single text book can also be secured by competition. The logical and normal thing would be for any publisher to be able to participate in the competition with any number of text books. A panel of reputed specialists should then select from all the proposed manuals the best didactic and scientific option.
The selected text book should then be published and distributed to schools as a unique text book. Unique due to its quality, distribution in schools and from the point of view of general availability.

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