Schools in Romania might open for the second semester, but everything depends on the pandemic evolution.
Classes in Romania will remain in online format also in the last three weeks of this semester, after which the situation might change. The education minister, Sorin Câmpeanu, has expressed confidence that schools and kindergartens will reopen on February 8, 'in one form or another'. On Thursday, the minister met with teachers, trade union representatives, parents and student associations to discuss the current issues in the Romanian education system at the beginning of his term in office. Minister Câmpeanu has admitted though that everything depends on the epidemiological situation and has explained that either all schools will be opened or only those from the areas where the contamination rate is low.
Priority is given to primary education and kindergartens, which are the most difficult to manage online. Top priorities are also the national exams for the 8th and 12th graders. The education minister has underlined that he really wants the simulations for these students to also be held in schools, while taking all the precautions, so as to allow the correct evaluation of students’ online learning outcome. This stage might be followed by a change of the curriculum, depending on the way in which students assimilated the information taught by teachers online. He promised that, by February 15, data would be made public regarding the subject matters for the examination of 8th and 12th graders, as well as data on the way in which the exams will unfold. According to the education minister, the problems of online teaching are 'structural, not circumstantial', and any country is facing such problems.
Sorin Câmpeanu has added that the health of teachers and students is important, but recuperating the information lost during the online classes is equally important, given that some students are going to take the National Assessment and Baccalaureate exams. For the time being, the School Inspectorates are expected to provide lists with the number of teachers who want to be vaccinated against Covid-19, some surveys showing that less than half of the teachers intend to be vaccinated. The education trade union representatives have asked to be informed about the vaccination process, but not to be obliged to get the vaccine. In turn, the parents' representatives have called for a budget increase for the education domain.
Minister Câmpeanu has also stated that he wants the setting up of a single integrated national registry of diplomas and study documents, which should include baccalaureate, bachelor's, master's and doctor’s degrees. He has underlined that, in this way, it will be easier to verify the authenticity of degrees and diplomas and the scourge of plagiarism in the Romanian education system will be thus eliminated. The students' representatives have agreed with this approach and have expressed their wish to also develop a single platform at national level for enrollment and admission to higher education. "Education remains the priority of this government," the education minister has said. (tr. L. Simion)