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June 26, 2022

President Iohannis launches challenge for Gov’t: Three-year plan to modernize schools.PM Ponta agrees serious debate on education needed

President Klaus Iohannis talked on Monday at a press conference about the situation Romanian schools find themselves in at the start of the new school year. The refugees issue and Romania’s decision to reject mandatory quotas were also tackled.
“A funny thing happens at the start of the school year. Every year there is unpleasant news: many schools lack proper conditions to receive pupils, they lack sanitary permits.”

“One in every five schools lacks sanitary permit. It’s a national disgrace”

“Trying to find out how many such schools we are talking about, I found out that 4,000 buildings lack sanitary permits. We are talking about one in every five [school] buildings. That’s a lot. Most of them, over 80 per cent, lack permits because they don’t have running water or plumbing. It’s a national disgrace,” the President said.
In this context, he launched a challenge for the Government: “I believe it is possible to have a three-year plan that would lead to resolving this issue. I believe that by the autumn of 2018, when we will mark once century of modern Romania, we should have a modern Romania in schools too.
A second issue also has to do with education. We have a lot of problems apart from those that have to do with logistics. Approximately half the high school students did not pass the Baccalaureate. When we analyze the textbook situation, we have problems.
Children in rural areas do not have approximately the same opportunities that children in urban areas have. A high number of young graduates simply cannot find jobs,” the Head of State said.
He pointed out that he proposes another initiative – a new reform, a wide public consultation. “All those interested to take part. I invite civil society, associations, central and local institutions – in brief, all those who have information, thoughts about how school should look like. I hope that through this public consultation we would lay the bases of a reform that would take education into the 21st Century so that there would be the desire to employ the student,” the President said.
“We also have good news. I’ve read a study authored by universities in Frankfurt – on how happy students are. Romania tops the EU countries analyzed. I believe we owe students a lot more,” the Head of State concluded.
Answering a question, Iohannis pointed out that the challenge for the Government will materialize in talks until a solution is found. “We are not talking about the Education Ministry, it does not have schools under its authority; schools are under the authority of local public administrations. They were simply handed over to the administration, which was able to live up to this challenge or not. The state should have had the duty to first set the schools in order and then to hand them over to the administrations. It’s not late, the Government can come up with a plan, it has all the leverage necessary,” Iohannis pointed out.

PM Ponta: I agree very serious debate on education is needed

Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Tuesday said he agrees a very serious debate is needed “about what children should learn in school,” because, in his opinion, they “study things they do not use.”

“I was very glad to see that Mr President Iohannis has finally reached real Romania, the one where there truly are very many problems. Together with the Government we can help, he knows – as he was a mayor and said that the school hosues are owned by mayoralties. I believe he also knows, especially because he was a mayor, that in 2010 the Government with nowadays Predoiu cut the VAT quotas from mayors and there was no money for school maintenance. Moreover, I believe he also knows and I believe that regardless of how many problems there are with the schools administrated by mayors, it is better than if all schools were administrated by the ministry from Bucharest. I agree that a very serious debate is needed about what children have to learn. I am also the father of two and I am not satisfied; I believe they study things they do not use and don’t study things they should,” Ponta said at the Social Democrat Party (PSD) headquarters, in reply to a question about President Iohannis’ proposal of drawing up a three-year pact to solve problems in the education system.

He added that he cannot decide the curriculum, as a parent, but the specialists in the area must do so.

“In four years, I have learned that each comes to the Education Ministry and makes more reform and, I don’t know how, it turns out worse than before. Now we live under law 1 of 2011, Funeriu’s, who also made a reform. I want us not to confuse people with reforms, to think, to measure 100 times to see if it is good to cut,” Ponta pointed out.

He mentioned that he will be meeting teachers’ trade unions on Tuesday to discuss daily problems.

PNL’s Gorghiu: Education reform should be worked out by everyone

National Liberal Party (PNL) co-chair Alina Gorghiu on Monday evening said that an education reform is worth being worked out by everyone and that education shouldn’t be exclusively dealt with by the PNL, the Social Democratic Party (PSD) or the Presidency.

“I would not like to see any more education being exclusively dealt with by the PNL, the PSD, the Presidency, full stop. I would like to believe that an education reform is worth being worked out by everyone, that is why I appreciate the message the President sent out today. Over 82 percent of the youth in Romania believe that school doesn’t prepare them for work, we are talking about one in ten youths who drop out of school, one of ten youths who work to support their family, we are talking about the everyday living, not about leisure expenditure. There are some frightening figures, which we forget or mention in the public space only when the school year begins and that’s all. I would obviously want to see a project coming out of this debate proposed by the President, which cannot be done from one day to the next,” Gorghiu told Antena 3 private television broadcaster.

She added that the very frequently amending the legislation in the area is the biggest mistake of the political class.

“To have a competitive education one must provide fair funding, and then make sure there is the appropriate teaching body to do this public service. We need to adjust the curriculum to the reality on the labour market, we have a stuffy curriculum disconnected from what the student needs,” Gorghiu added.

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