Preparations are underway in Romania for the start of a new school year against the background of the coronavirus pandemic
The Romanian Government is preparing an emergency decree on online schooling and a bill on physical school attendance, which will allow decisions to be made at local level, more specifically by schools, school inspectorates and public health directorates. The Education Minister Monica Anisie explained at a debate held on Tuesday by the Senate's Education Committee, that activities entailing physical attendance could be suspended if the school board considered it appropriate, with the approval of the county school inspectorate and the county committee for emergency situations.
The minister asked for Parliament's support for regulations regarding the employment of non-teaching staff in pre-university education, as it is allowed in higher education. The legislation, recently amended, allows employment only in teaching positions in the pre-university system, which means that only teachers can be employed. The line minister stressed that the system needs these additional posts. Monica Anisie also said that more than 500,000 tablets would be purchased for online schooling, and voiced hope that the budget adjustment would be a beneficial one for the education ministry.
On Tuesday, the Senate endorsed a bill under which each student enrolled in the state education system would receive 350 lei per year for a school uniform, and schools will be able to choose their distinctive signs: badge, uniform or scarf.
Health Minister Nelu Tataru also spoke about the new school year on Tuesday, announcing that rules had been established for all three scenarios taken into consideration according to the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic. He stressed that the government wanted school to start normally, with students physically attending classes, but the situation must be managed taking into account the ability of schools to ensure protection and health rules.
A training program for teachers, organized by the Ministry of Education, called 'Teachers' Tele-school', is due to start on public television on August 24th. There will be 15 courses on the use of educational platforms to support online schooling. The topics will cover the features provided, free of charge, by Google and Microsoft. The courses will also be available on the YouTube channels of the Romanian Television and of the Ministry of Education and Research.
"Because education must continue in any conditions, the Ministry of Education and Research supports all teachers in Romania through this training program, a complementary-support program designed to support online learning, which is so necessary in the current situation", the line minister said. The 'Teachers' Tele-school' shows are part of the strategy for the development of teacher's skills for online teaching. (M.Ignatescu)