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The latest on the Romanian education system
Every year, Romania compels worldwide recognition for the exceptional results obtained by Romanian high school students at the international mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy or computer science olympiads. But those teenagers account for a small percentage of the total number of those whom the country will have to rely on in the near future. According to the PISA tests, Romanian teenagers who are now 15 years old get low marks in mathematics, reading and sciences as compared to those who are now 9 years old. In other words, Romania has obtained the poorest results of the last 9 years in the OECD periodical test. According to that evaluation, 44% of Romanian school students do not understand what they read and cannot perform basic arithmetic operations, functional illiteracy being alarming. Romania ranks 47th out of 79 countries, which is quite relevant. The results of the PISA tests confirm what has been said for years, namely that the Romanian education system is a complete mess and the successive education ministers have done nothing but take certain measures, some of them catastrophic. The reaction of liberal Education and Research Minister Monica Anisie is actually shocking. She believes that the PISA tests are not the expression of individual performances and that the participants' involvement was not full since there was no stake. "We must not worry", Monica Anisie said. "But we should" - said a journalist in an article recalling that Romania is blood poisoned by emigration, a major workforce crisis and now by functional illiteracy. In the journalist's view, the authorities should worry, but not in a barren way; they should make rapid and major changes in an obsolete system which seems to run counter to the ongoing digital revolution, with some less trained teachers and many disinterested students. Obviously, the quality of education in Romania needs to be increased not by cosmetic measures but by substantial measures -says Prime Minister Ludovic Orban. In 2014, when he got his first mandate as president of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, a teacher himself at the time, promised a strategy entitled "Educated Romania". The strategy was submitted to public debate in late 2018, that is after four years of his first mandate, being criticized. It is so vague that it will provide no concrete solution, the critics said; the turmoil it has triggered rather than the solutions illustrates quite a troubled political and social environment. In other words, the lack of clear and coherent measures to straighten out the situation is more serious than the Romanian school students' results at the PISA tests.
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