New school year kicks off amid lack of infrastructure and controversial decisions. President Iohannis: “Some politicians are afraid of school”
The 2019-2020 school year has started in Romania today, with almost 3 million pupils ( 2,824,594) and around 200,000 teachers in the system.
Pupils and pre-school kids will have 35 weeks of classes this year, divided in two semesters: semester 1 – between September 9 and December 20, 2019, semester 2 – between January 13 and June 12, 2020.
High ranking officials have also attended the school start ceremonies, President Iohannis went to “Ferdinand I” secondary school in Bucharest, while PM Viorica Dăncilă went to a school in Hunedoara.
President Klaus Iohannis told the pupils and teachers at the opening of the new pre-university school year that some politicians are afraid of school because people in education institutions are trained to tax them for errors in logic or phrasing.
“Some politicians are afraid of school. Here, in school, people are trained to tax them for logic errors and, of late, rather often, for phrasing errors. And the failure of public education policies can be seen here as well, but also their lack of creativity. We see how, instead of adopting measures to increase the quality of education, actions to facilitate the fraud at the baccalaureate are being preferred, or to try cutting the number of those who get to take the National Assessment exam or to propose the automatic distribution of those who get low grades to vocational schools, instead of having credible aptitude assessments organised,” said the president.
Iohannis is referring to the controversial decision introduced by the Education Ministry as a first this year, according to which only students who take the National Evaluation and whose admission grade is above 5.00 (five) out of a possible 10.00 are admitted to high-schools in the 2020-2021 academic year.
“Graduates of 8th grade from the previous series, who are not 18 until the start of the 2020-2021 school year and who’ve participated in the admission process in the previous years, but were not enrolled in an education unit, may join the admission process for the state high-school cycle for year 2020-2021,” also reads the Ministry’s decision.
The National Pupils Council has urged all pupils to protest with black armbands against the order on vocational schools.
As for Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, she has attended a school’s year opening ceremony in Santamaria Orlea – Hunedoara County, stating that it is important that children in rural areas enjoy the same opportunities as their urban peers. Dancila also said she wants as many children from the countryside as possible to be able to attend a faculty.
“It is important that we focus our attention on the children in the rural area, who deserve the same opportunities as those in the urban area,” the premier pointed out.
“Education means a better life and livelihood for these children, the opportunity to build a life purpose. Briefly, education means getting out of poverty, fighting domestic violence, better health, higher personal ambitions. (…) Education means a better development of the local communities. (…) I want you to enter the high school you want. I want you to be part of those students who attend faculty and deliver. For me, as a Prime Minister, it is important to leave a legacy of a high number of rural-based students who get to college,” said the PM.
Thousands of pupils are still going to schools with outdoor toilets
However, the prime minister seems to avoid mentioning the problems and challenges ahead the educational system in the rural areas in Romania, where thousands of pupils still have to use outdoor toilets and have no means of transportation.
Botosani county ranks first on schools that have outdoor toilets, 157. 100 school units in the countryside in Maramures have outdoor toilets, Teleorman has 43 such schools, Dolj-88, Gorj-34, Galati-25.
School vacation structure
The school vacations are scheduled as following:
-winter holiday: December 21, 2019 to January 12, 2020
-spring holiday: April 4 – April 21, 2020
-summer holiday: June 13 – start of school year 2020-2021
Pupils in the elementary school and kids in kindergartens will have an extra holiday between October 26 and November 3, 2019.