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Romania: important achievement down the drain?

In parallel with the crusade against the Spiru Haret University (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, August 2009), the Romanian Education minister Ecaterina Andronescu has started on another bumpy road – the reform of the Romanian education system. After months of quarrels within the governing coalition over the proposed Education Laws, she seemed to have gained a victory on 14 September, when the Romanian government finally took responsibility for the respective set of laws, with 50 amendments out of almost 1000.

The laws, comprehensive in nature, call for an allocation of 7 percent of the GDP to education. In the field of higher education, some of the most significant changes include: the ratio of students to lecturers, which should not be higher than 40 to 1; the prospect of financing universities per cycle of education, with potential impact on student mobility in the country; both public and private universities will have access to research funding; and the structure of the ‘Bacalaureat’ – the main university entrance exam – will be modified.

Although important, this achievement might not be a lasting one. Unexpectedly, it is endangered by the Education minister herself, who seems to have modified some paragraphs of the laws (after the government had already taken responsibility for them). With the opposition preparing to legally strike back, the fate of the laws, as well as that of the Education minister, remain uncertain.

Romanian Ministry of Education