Education Minister Sorin Cimpeanu (photo), said on Thursday that an implementation schedule for the “Educated Romania” project will have to become available before September 10, adding that in order to achieve the intermediate objective of the project, the allocation 4.7% of the Gross Domestic Product for education spending, money from Romania’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), money from the European Social Fund and funds from the national budget are taken into account.
“Today we had the first meeting of the inter-ministerial board for the implementation of the ‘Educated Romania’ project. It was in fact a meeting in preparation for the next meeting on Thursday, September 2, at 13:00hrs, a meeting where each of the ministries represented in the inter-ministerial board will receive information and will decide from the perspective of the ministry they represent on to the implementation schedule, which will have to become available by September 10, according to the deadline pledged in a governmental memorandum. We presented the current state of play and we presented the objectives that we must achieve under the ‘Educated Romania’ project. Things are not good at all, as we know,” Cimpeanu said on Thursday, at the end of a meeting of the inter-ministerial board monitoring the implementation of the ‘Educated Romania’ project.
Early in the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Florin Citu, Cimpeanu said that underfunding is one of the challenges facing the Romanian education system.
“We are at almost 3.6% of GDP, but in a governmental memorandum we pledged to reach as an intermediate objective 4.7% of GDP in education spending, which is what the European average for public education spending is. Of course, money should be geared toward where they can generate reliable results. I have always understood and supported the principle that results in education can always be seen in the medium and long term, but we can have a consistent strategy, that is our role, more precisely, a schedule for the implementation of the ‘Educated Romania’ project under which to direct investment in education in an efficient way,” said Cimpeanu.
He explained that Romania will reach a 4.7% of GDP in public education spending through budget building.
PM Citu: Time to implement ‘Educated Romania’ project
Prime Minister Florin Citu said on Thursday that it is time for the “Educated Romania” project to be implemented, underscoring that it will have funds from multiple sources, and Romania’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) includes opportunities to fund projects of utmost importance to the national education system.
Citu participated in the first meeting of an inter-ministerial board monitoring the implementation of the “Educated Romania” project, also announcing that on September 2 a new meeting will take place in order to prepare the first related pieces of legislation.
“It is the largest education reform project, ‘Educated Romania’, developed by the Presidential Administration, a project that represents the vision and strategy of the country in the field of education ahead of 2030, supported, of course, by the government agenda 2020-2024. At the same time getting the ‘Educated Romania’ project started was included as a commitment in the National Defence Strategy for 2020-2024,” said Citu.
He added that the reforms envisaged by the “Educated Romania” project, combined with the measures provided for in the government agenda, are harmonised with the specific country recommendations of the European Commission and with the national reform programme.
“‘Educated Romania’ is in PNRR – I would like to announce in this way that PNRR will be approved at the end of September, so we are on schedule with PNRR – and operational programmes, central budget, local budgets, public-private partnerships, non-reimbursable funds, funding, contributions of privately-owned companies. So we have sources of funding; we now have a platform, ‘Educated Romania,’ we know very clear where we want to go with the system, it is time to implement this programme,” said Citu.
The prime minister added that the premises for a new legislative package are being created.
“And that, in fact, we are doing under this inter-ministerial board in order to secure the necessary legal support for the reform and coherence with other legal regulations, as well as with the requirements of a constantly changing socio-economic environment. In order to implement the ‘Educated Romania’ project, a PNRR draft submitted to the European Commission in June 2021, includes opportunities to finance projects of the utmost importance to the national education system designed for training and reaching the pledged reform targets. On July 14, 2021, the Government took up by memorandum the implementation of the ‘Educated Romania’ project and the approval of priorities in the reform of the national education system (…) This is the first meeting today, and I would like to announce that next week, on September 2, we will already have another meeting to prepare the first pieces of legislation that will enter into force. I believe on September 9 we will have the first pieces,” said Citu.
Presidential adviser Ligia Deca pointed out that pending the passage of a legal framework for the “Educated Romania” project, there is a need to speed up some measures already pledged by the government regarding education and for the best possible inter-institutional co-operation.
“There is a next stage with a deadline of September 10, and already the minister, together with my colleagues from the Department of Education and Research, is working on a draft implementation plan to be discussed and finalised with you starting next week precisely in order to be able to be passed on in the public space, that will say what we propose concretely with steps, actions, deadlines, managers and budgets for the implementation of the ‘Educated Romania’ project. There have been many debates in the public space since the official launch, the level of expectation for change for the better is very high and I think it will be at its peak with the start of the school and university year. Therefore, I am very glad that we can meet in an extended format to anticipate a little these expectations of the society and put on the table some things that can happen even faster than the adoption of a new legal framework. These are good things (…) and they do not necessarily need a new legal framework, but speeding up some measures, plus inter-institutional co-operation,” said Deca.
She warned that Romania does not afford to lose any more children from the formal educational process, given the alarming estimates of the demographic trend.
“There is also a demographic emergency: if the current trend holds, Romania’s population could fall below 16 million inhabitants by 2050. Also, the percentage of young people in the overall population is low, which leads us to the need to support every child in Romania. More bluntly: we cannot afford to lose any child, we want each of them to become active citizens to steer the society the way we want, in a European context, in a democratic context and so on,” the presidential adviser explained.
Compiled from Agerpres