Meet the Romanian educational system (Part I)

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Member since June 26, 2014
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Today, as I promised a while ago, I decided to write to you on the educational system in my country, Romania. This article is going to be mostly informative, but I will also try to observe some weak or/and positive points. I hope you will find it interesting and that it will help you have an insight on an educational system, similar or not to the one in your country.

Firstly, you should know that education in Romania is based on a tuition-free system. There are 11 mandatory years of education. One is in the kindergarten and it aims to prepare you for later school years. Then there are 8 years: 4 in primary and 4 in secondary school, after that there are 2 years in high school. If you want, and many students choose this option, you can continue and finish high school after another 2 or 3 years. At the end of secondary school, right before entering high school, Romanian pupils have to take an exam, known as the National Test, which has two sections: Romanian Language and Literature and Mathematics. With the grades obtained at these and your average during your secondary school you calculate your average for your high school admission. In this process, you express your options of profile and institution and a computer tries to place you in high school. If students with bigger averages have expressed the same option, they have priority in the placing process. However, you can’t fail this exam, as almost every student is found a place in high school.

Regarding high school in Romania, without going too far in detail, there are three main categories of education: the first one is theoretical (with two profiles: one of science and one of languages and humane science), in the second one a student can practice his own vocation (there are the economic, the military, the sportive, the artistic profile, etc.) and the third one is the technological profile (here you have several options: you can study technology, like mechanics or electrics, or you can learn about natural resources, the environment’s protection or services, etc.). After all these three types of education you have to pass a final exam, which is mostly written and theoretical and offers you the right to go to university.

There is however, another option. There are professional schools, as we call them, where a Romanian pupil can go instead of regular high school, and where they do more practice, learning a craft. These institutions usually have behind a company or another public institution which plays a fundamental role in their students’ education. These parts usually offer places for students to do internships and also are a decisive part in the profile of the school. This way, the professional schools are adapting themselves to the requests of the job market. Another good aspect is that after ending this professional school (which takes 3 years) you earn a certificate and you don’t give the usual final exam reminded above. This way, you are ready to enter the job market, but you can’t go to university unless you go to the regular high school now.

There are a few ideas that you should have in mind on the high school education in Romania. A Romanian student is considered to be studying a lot. Even though we don’t stay at school much longer than pupils from other countries, we have to do homework on a daily basis and that means another 3-6 hours of studying per day. Also, there is a large debate in my country regarding the fact that we don’t have a well-structured curriculum, that the information we get from our school books is too detailed and often useless. This amount of work may seem overwhelming to a student, but it is also a positive aspect: Romanian students have a great capacity to learn a lot, so we are already somehow prepared for being a university student.

The second one refers to the fact that teenagers are encouraged by family and society to go to theoretical profiles because of various reasons. That makes the theoretical profiles have mostly motivated students with big averages at admission, and so, the ones with low averages go almost all in the technological education. Usually, low averages are not caused by lack of intelligence but lack of interest, and so, students who don’t care about studying and don’t have motivation stay in this situation during high school, because there’s no one to encourage them. We also tend, because the low averages, to consider the technical education as one for the least intelligent people, thus leaving the students even less motivated, without any willingness to learn and grow. Therefore, they are not well prepared and consequently, the job market is now old and needs a refresh. The professional schools, started a few years ago, are, in my opinion, a huge step in the right direction, as they assure a future job and therefore attract more motivated students. I am interested in seeing the way the technical education is developing along with this new form of education.

I am going to do a post on universities as well, but because I didn’t want to bore you, I decided to concentrate only on high school for now.

Share your thoughts and ask questions if you have any!

And what is the educational system in your country like? Tell me about it.

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