Romania’s current education system is relatively new. Under communism, education in Romania was politically-fueled. The communist revolution in eastern Europe heavily influenced a nationalistic approach to education in Romania.
This meant that education was tailored to the Romanian majority. In the 1960’s Hungarian schools were merged with Romanian schools and virtually all classes that were once taught in Hungarian were now taught in Romanian.
This politicized education system was abolished in 1990 along with Romania’s communist regime. Today, Romania is a unitary republic with an education system that is constantly under reform. Here are six facts about education in Romania today:
- Kindergarten students can start school at three years of age. Although it is uncommon, it is legal to enroll a child into kindergarten as young as age three. Students can remain in kindergarten until they are six or seven, but they must complete at least one year of kindergarten to be eligible for enrollment in elementary school.
- Student admission to the high school is based on test scores. The Ministry of Romanian Education and Research administers nation-wide exams that determine where each child will attend high school. Performance on these exams dictates where each student will be able to attend high school. Certain private institutions, typically the more prestigious ones, also include their own attendance criteria on top of the test score requirements.
- Students attend specialty high schools. Unlike in the United States where every high school student is expected to gain a certain amount of credits in each subject, eighth-grade students in Romania decide between multiple areas of study in high school. Students can decide between attending an arts or science high school, a military college, economic college or professional school.
- High school students take up to 14 subjects at once. Most students take between 12 and 14 classes at once ranging from geography to Romanian literature. Students also take a minimum of two other languages, along with Romanian. Common languages taught include English, French, Spanish, German and Italian. High school teachers rotate between classrooms instead of the students. In most Romanian high schools, it is common that students have all of their lessons in the same classroom with the same classmates for all four or five years that they attend. This is intended to create a sense of community among students.
- Romanian women generally attend school longer than men. According to UNICEF, approximately 83 percent of women in Romania were enrolled in secondary education in 2012, compared with 81 percent of men.
- Romania’s education system is rapidly advancing. The literacy rate among those over the age of 15 rose from 96.7 percent in 1992 to 97.3 in 2002. Today, 98.8 percent of Romanians are literate.
Although these are major improvements, education in Romania still has room for improvement. Many people in rural communities do not have access to quality education and despite obtaining a higher level of education, there is a severe level of pay inequality between men and women in the workforce.
– Laura Cassin