What Romania learned in 2021. Note for Education: “5 with indulgence”

With the scenarios changed from one day to the next, with students confused by the lack of predictability, with teachers dissatisfied with salaries and working conditions, the dropout rate in Romania is currently 15.6%. The highest percentage is in rural areas, where 26% of students no longer go to school.

Asked by Free Europe if he is satisfied with 2021 in terms of education, Sorin Cîmpeanu answered: “Not at all!”.

Victor Ponta’s old ally in the 2015 government and in the party led by him, Sorin Cîmpeanu is the minister who resisted in this 2021 both in the Cîțu Government and in the Ciucă government. Although from the minister’s point of view there was stability, the education had several “changes of heart” of Sorin Cîmpeanu.

In February 2021, the Minister announced the reopening of schools and the scenarios for them, and the infection rate of 6 / 1,000 inhabitants it was the threshold by which students could physically go to school.

This threshold was removed in October, and students were able to go to school regardless of the local infection threshold, but depending on the degree of vaccination of school staff, which should not be less than 60%.

At the beginning of 2021, after announcing the scenarios for the opening of the school in February, Sorin Cîmpeanu and former minister Vlad Voiculescu dueled in the war to test students.

Although the Ministry of Health bought one million PCR tests for use in schools, only a small portion of them were used. Lack of staff or lack of parental consent.

Sorin Cîmpeanu and Vlad Voiculescu have contracted several times to buy rapid antigen tests for schools, but the case remained unresolved until mid-June, when the summer holidays began.

Holidays “by force”

In addition to those scheduled by the school year structure, students had two forced vacations in 2021, one in April 2021 when the two weeks were joined for Catholic and Orthodox Easter, and another in October 2021, when it was usually holiday only primary school students.

Not online courses, but directly holidays – the Ministry of Education motivated its decision by saying that students’ health is at the forefront, and online courses bring a lot of losses and cannot be attended by all students.

Exams and results. No textbooks

The national exams took place on the dates set for June-July, but the programs according to which the 8th and 12th grade students learned “were adapted to the realities”, in the sense that some parts of the subjects for exams were taken, as announced by the Ministry of Education. The pass rate in the National Assessment was 76.90%, while in the Baccalaureate 69.8% of the students managed to obtain the average 6.

The school year 2021-2022, which began in September, also brought several changes. First of all, that not all the textbooks were on the students’ benches – the most widowed by the school books being the ninth graders who started school with the old textbooks, although they were prepared for 8 years after a program. new school.

The change of the high school curriculum was stopped by the current minister on the grounds that the framework plans put up for public debate on February 5, 2021 received too many comments.

Students are the ones who have felt the best changes and decisions made in education in the last year.

“If I were to give a grade this year from an educational perspective, it would be a 5 with indulgence, given that a large part of the systemic problems have not been solved: the rulers forgot about ‘educated Romania’, education is still underfunded, and the national curriculum has been postponed again and again, locked in the drawers of the ministry “, says Silviu Morcan, president of the National Council of Students.

A 12th grade student, Silviu organized several student protests at the Ministry of Education and the Government to demand more money for education, but also for teachers.

Silviu Morcan would give at most grade 5 to education in 2021.

“2021 was a year of unpredictability – although the decision-makers promised firm and committed decisions, announced in advance, this was not seen at all. I went through insecurity, changing the running scenarios of schools from one day to the next and many more, at times when I needed, more than ever, stability and security.

The school year changed overnight and no one could guarantee that a set of measures once established will not be changed “, says Silviu Morcan.

Ana Măiță, president of the Mothers for Mothers Association, one of the voices critical of the measures taken in Education, says that 2021 has brought far fewer good things than last year, the first year of the pandemic.

“If in 2020 the safety and health of students was a zero priority, and the Ministry of Education made real efforts to develop online schooling, in 2021 we saw unscrupulous politicians making irresponsible decisions that led to huge rates of infection among students , caused by the “famous” decoupling of schools from the incidence of the infection rate, the disruption of the pace of learning, the need for rest and family life, but only in the case of students in public schools – by imposing an unplanned autumn vacation and amputation the winter one. ”- Ana Măiță

Ana Măiță also mentions how the tests were based on saliva in schools. Only in the end and for a short time.

“In fact, we have witnessed the mockery of public money, teachers and parents with the ridiculous non-mandatory and unmetered rapid testing campaign in schools made by the inconsistent distribution of fast tests with questionable efficiency, improperly packaged and purchased at a premium”, added Ana M .

The parents’ representatives also claim that 2021 is another lost year for their children’s education.

“Let’s just say it was a good year just because some digital equipment was bought, which, on top of that, is not being used to its full potential. I mean interactive whiteboards. They are not used and exploited for what they can offer from a technical point of view “, said Iulian Cristache, president of the National Federation of Parents’ Associations.

Iulian Cristache, president of the National Federation of Parents' Associations, points out that students in Romania do not benefit from a unitary assessment.
Iulian Cristache, president of the National Federation of Parents’ Associations, points out that students in Romania do not benefit from a unitary assessment.

“We do not yet have a student-centered education law. Teaching online is a joke in some schools and for some teachers. It is true that there are also students who are disinterested. Also, we do not yet have content adapted for online, as we do not have any of the teachers who have not yet adapted to the online system “, says Iulian Cristache.

Looking ahead, Cristache says that all the measures taken now in education will only lead to people unprepared for the labor market, who will work black and on the minimum wage.

Teachers are threatening a general strike

The year 2021 ended with teachers protesting against low salaries. They say that not everyone will enter the class in January, given that the Government has not kept its promise to increase salaries.

Teachers from the two major education unions protested in front of the government for three days and said that if education workers were further disregarded by the government, then the school situation could not end for the first semester.

“If the policy of total disregard for human resources in education continues, there is the possibility of radicalizing the protests, going until the end of the school / university situation for the first semester and the start of the general strike,” said the trade unionists from the Federation of Free Trade Unions and the Federation “Spiru Haret”.

In addition to low salaries, teachers were also dissatisfied with the fact that they had to help test students with saliva-based tests. As a result, the parents had to do this at home.

One in five teachers can teach online

Data from the Ministry of Education show that only one in five teachers is prepared for online teaching.

In addition, of the approximately 3 million students, about one million students study in rural schools, where the Internet does not allow online courses to be conducted in good conditions.

However, teachers are not very well trained in classical teaching either. The results from Securitization 2021 show that only a third, ie 11,000 teachers managed to get a grade of 7 in the national tenure exam.

The year 2022 will not change the dates of the national exams, which remain the established ones. However, it will bring changes of school principals, following the examinations for principals organized in the fall of 2021. They will take up their positions starting with January 2022.

How the 2021-2022 school year continues

Winter vacation:

  • Friday, December 24, 2021 – Sunday, January 2, 2022, for middle school, high school, vocational and post-high school classes
  • Friday, December 24, 2021 – Sunday, January 9, 2022, for groups / classes in preschool and primary education

Courses: Monday, January 3, 2022 – Friday, January 14, 2022, for classes in middle school, high school, vocational and post-high school;

Courses: Monday, January 10, 2022 – Friday, January 14, 2022, for groups / classes in preschool and primary education;

Second semester, from 17 January 2022 to 10 June 2022, inclusive, with the following structure:

  • Courses: Monday, January 17, 2022 – Thursday, April 14, 2022;
  • Spring break: Friday, April 15, 2022 – Sunday, May 1, 2022;
  • courses Monday, May 2, 2022 – Friday, June 10, 2022;
  • Summer vacation: Saturday, June 11, 2022 – until September 2022, at a date to be determined later.
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