The beginning of the new school year has again put the spotlight on the problems faced by the Romanian education system.
Almost 3 million Romanian children went
back to school on Monday after the long summer break. The first day of school brought
good news in some regions, with the conditions of schools and the education
system in general in the rural areas being far from ideal. In the village of
Floresti, in Cluj county, north-western Romania, one of the biggest schools in
the rural area has been inaugurated. While the activity of some local
authorities is a model of good practice, that of others leaves to be desired.
Suffice it to say that not all schools can provide children with specialised
medical care, that others have not received their sanitary permits because they
are not connected to the running water and sewerage networks, that some schools
don't even have fire safety permits or don't have security or video monitoring
systems in place. School buses are also not enough in some cases.
Against this backdrop, many Romanian
politicians, who are in pre-election mode, attended the opening of the school
year across the country. This includes two of the candidates to the
presidential elections in November, namely the incumbent president Klaus
Iohannis and prime minister Viorica Dancila. At a school in Bucharest, Klaus
Iohannis spoke about the failure of public policies in education, as well as
their lack of creativity. He warned that there is a lot of indifference and
carelessness, that there are no measures to increase the quality of education
and that all children, without discrimination, must feel encouraged, protected
and safe in school.
Prime minister Viorica Dancila attended
the opening of the new school year in a village in Hunedoara, in the west:
"I thought I should attend the
opening of the school year in a school in the rural environment. It is
important to focus on the children in the rural environment, who deserve the
same opportunities as those in the urban environment. We are looking for as
many programmes as possible that could help children in the rural environment,
because it is important for these children to go to university, to achieve
things. We must ensure them as good a future as possible."
The European commissioner for
education Tibor Navracsics also attended the opening of the new school year in
Romania, in Satu Mare, in the north-west. Navracsics, who is nearing the end of his term
in office, spoke about how the Romanian education system is seen in Brussels.
In his opinion, the biggest problem is under-funding. The practical component is
also missing, with emphasis being placed rather on the theoretical side. Satu
Mare is one exception to this, with the commissioner noting that a different
approach is being tested, one that places more emphasis on vocational and dual