Update: University year starts. President Iohannis pledges for universities like in the West

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The 2017-2018 academic school year is kicking off today, with politicians attending the opening ceremonies across universities countrywide and concerning statistics still looming regarding graduation and job occupancy.

President Klaus Iohanis has attended the year opening in Constanta, addressing to the students and the professors of the “Ovidius” University, the Maritime University and the “Mircea cel Batran” Naval Academy.

He told the audience that “to have a country like in the West, we need, first of all, universities like in the West”.

Universities don’t train just good experts, be it employees or entrepreneurs, but have the role of training good citizens and to contribute to the development of the rule of law, on sustainable bases. We hear many times the phrase <We want a country like in the West>. It’s possible. But to have such a country, we need first off all universities like in the West, which promote the truth, the critical thinking and morality, in all their activities. For instance, I would like universities to help demolish various unfounded myths that we still find in the public space. To refer precisely to the higher education, one of these myths is the false one that too many youngsters are going to the university,” Iohannis pointed out.

However, he argued that Romania ranks last in the EU on the people aged from 30 to 34 who have a higher education. “This affects our country’s competitiveness and implicitly our welfare. It doesn’t mean we have to encourage the existence of some universities facing serious educational management problems only for the sake of statistics. At the same time, we must not neglect the development of some professional vocational routes, which must be a real alternative with social and financial recognition. We need top experts, but we also need well-trained manual workers. These things should be debated more frequently in the public space and maybe even in the Parliament,” the head of state said in Constanta.

Education minister Liviu Pop has attended the university year opening in Iasi, stating that the Romanian education “needs beautiful words, but also facts”, while urging students not to give up their aspirations.

Romania needs a winning mentality. Failure and frustration don’t belong to the Romanian education or to your life. Graduate university to succeed in life. Above all, university means a chance for a better future (…) Learn, help Romania rise and when you come back here for a speech, help the number of poor children in this country decrease,” the minister said, arguing that one in two children in Romania cannot afford going to university due the financial shortages.

The Chamber speaker Liviu Dragnea has attended the new academic year opening at the “Valahia” Engineering faculty in Targoviste-Alexandria, while Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu has been at the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca.

Visiting Hungarian PM Viktor Orban went to Oradea on Monday to attend the school opening ceremony at the Partium Christian University.

The French Ambassador to Romania, Michele Ramis, addressed the students of the Law School of Bucharest, at the university year opening ceremony, stating they have a “huge” responsibility, as they will be the “pillars” of the rule of law in the European Union.

I myself am a law school graduate and I can tell you that the Law School is the environment training judges, prosecutors, politicians, parliament members, those in charge with strengthening the rule of law in Romania. Your responsibility is huge. You are the guarantors of the separation of powers, you are responsible for the stability of the state, peace, prosperity, Europe,” ambassador Ramis said.

She added that the law school graduates will be “the pillars of the rule of law construction in the European Union.” “Europe needs you,” the French ambassador said.

The German ambassador to Romania, representatives of the „Panthéon – Sorbonne” University Paris I, and other representatives of the Würzburg University in Germany also attended the opening ceremony at Bucharest university.

New academic year, old problems

Statistics show that 410,000 students from 55 public universities and 37 private ones are starting a new academic year in Romania today. However, many of these universities have a old curricula and are just ‘diploma factories’, as a concerning number of graduates will not work in the sector they have graduated in the first place. The first 15 positions of the young unemployed people who have graduated university during 2010-2014 are: economists, financial and investment consultants, accountancy experts, jurists, teachers, psychologists, sociologists, clerks, consultants in agriculture, forestry and fishing, general practitioners and dentists, mechanic engineers, chemists and electronics engineers.

Graduates of medicine, architecture and veterinary faculties have more chances to find a job on their speciality.

The main reason for that is that the university offers don’t match with the labour market’s demands. According to a recent study by hipo.ro, the top 5 fields with most hiring perspectives in 2017 are: sales, IT sector, human resources, marketing, advertising.

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