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New education minister in Romania

Following the resignation of the Romanian Prime Minister in early February, the Romanian government underwent a complete overhaul. The new public figure entrusted with the portfolio for Education, Research, Youth and Sport—Cătălin Baba—is actually not a new presence in the ministry. Mr Baba served as Secretary of State under the outgoing Education minister—Daniel Petru Funeriu—and in this capacity was in charge of coordinating the implementation of the new Romanian education law, adopted early last year (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, January 2011). The 44-year-old Cătălin Baba had been, prior to his activities in the Ministry of Education, the coordinator of the team of advisors of the outgoing Prime Minister. He had also acted as Dean of the Faculty of Political Science, Administration and Communication, at the Babeş-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca. Regarding the concrete plans of Mr Baba in the field of (higher) education, as he was already closely involved in the implementation of reforms started by his predecessor, continuity seems to be the catchword. Indeed, the minister has already announced the three grand objectives of his mandate, and these clearly reflect a continuity agenda, namely: stability, predictability and openness to dialogue, within the framework fixed by the national education law. In the field of higher education, continuity also means, amongst other things, the continuation of the project to classify Romanian higher education institutions. This effort resulted last year in the grouping of Romanian universities into three categories: research intensive, teaching and research oriented, and mainly teaching institutions. This change was to be followed by an evaluation of all institutions by an international agency—the European University Association (EUA). EUA agreed to carry out this project with the Romanian Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding (UEFISCDI) and the project was launched in Bucharest in January. As part of his international obligations, the new minister will also be the host of the Bologna Process Ministerial Conference in Bucharest, on 27-28 April 2012, an event organised in cooperation with the Bologna Secretariat. Most likely, the mandate of Mr Baba will extend only until the autumn, when parliamentary elections should be organised in the country. Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sport (in Romanian)