6.10 Current debates and reforms
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The need for a framework when it comes to the dual education system had been a widely debated subject in the last years. Starting with the school year 2017/2018 it is available the learning contract for dual education system that was approved by the Minister’s Order. The contract is concluded between the educational establishment, the economic partner of the practice and the student or his / her parent / guardian / legal representative established. Romania is now trying to revive its vocational education, to provide a genuine alternative to academic programmes and fill the gap created by the dissolution of the Arts and Crafts Schools. Since 2011, students have been able to follow a VET programme in the technological high schools, beginning in Grade 9, initially for two years and since 2013 for three years. These programmes provide specialised vocational education developed in close collaboration with the business sector to offer an alternative to highschool through dual education.
Other current developments include:
- a large scale project of training teachers to use new teaching methods;
- continuing reforming the curriculum for all grades and reforming textbooks;
- simplification of the administrative tasks of schools and teachers.
Two new Education Law proposals, one for pre-university and one for university education, have bee published by the Ministry of Education in February 2023, after debates organised in 2021-2022.
Educated Romania is the national project initiated by the President of Romania aiming to support the re-establishment of society on values, the development of a culture of success based on performance, work, talent, honesty and integrity. For this purpose, starting with 2016, the Presidential Administration had been conducting a wide public debate on education and research in Romania including consultations with experts and online surveys. In 2018, the country’s vision and country objectives on education and research in Romania for the next 12 years (2018-2030); a strategy for the education and research sector in the 2018-2030 horizon; a series of public policy proposals on the themes identified as priorities in the project, which also include elements on the governance of the education and research system had been mapped out and presented to the public. More information about the initiative is available on EURYDICE’s website.
In terms of reducing ELET, the governmental initiatives are rather reduced. But the non-state actors, continued their work in either conducting lobby and advocacy campaigns to support the afterschool programmes in deprived communities (Human Catalyst) or implemented afterschool programmes with the support of the private sponsors.
Considering as well the COVID 19 pandemic, and the rapid changes required in education, in December 2020, the Ministry of Education was launching for public debate the National Strategy for the Digitalisation in Education (2021-2027) and a dedicated Platform was environed for it. But in March 2022, the Platform is not functional and public information about the further steps required for the actual implementation of the Strategy are not available. In 2020, the National Authority for Digitalisation was established having as main scope the digital transformation of the Romanian society, including a rapid digital transformation of the public sector as well.
Moreover, in 2021, the Ministry of Education launched the National Child Support Program, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic - "Caring for children", based on the Emergency Ordinance of the Government no. 105/2021. The programme has the following objectives (among others):
- informing and providing resources for the recognition and prevention of risks to child safety, as well as on the possibilities of managing the psycho-emotional health of children, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- adapting the psycho-emotional education of children according to age categories and school cycles;
- the development of the digital infrastructure for alerting, identifying and intervening in cases of child abuse and crime, for situations that do not require the immediate intervention of the specialized structures within the 112 Emergency Service;
- facilitating access to psychological and psychotherapeutic intervention services for children;
- the development of the competencies of the specialists who come into contact with the children and the use by them of unitary and applied tools and working procedures;
- developing the capacity of institutions working with children to carry out prevention, intervention, support, monitoring and evaluation activities from the psycho-emotional and child safety perspective.
The programme is not youth specific, but targets children and adolescents up to 18 years old (and can benefit young people beyond this age). The funding for the programme is not planned in detail. According to the programme document (Emergency Ordinance of the Government no. 105/2021): "Funding related to the Program is provided from the state budget, through the budget of the central public administration authorities, including reimbursable and non-reimbursable external funds, in accordance with the law, through the budgets of the line ministries."