Digitalization of education
Single Matriculation Registry of Romanian Universities (RMUR)
Since the 2022/2023 academic year, consideration has been given to the extension of the Single Matriculation Registry of Romanian Universities (RMUR) to postgraduate education. In order to ensure the integration of the reporting systems at national level and a single, correct and unitary reporting, the cooperation between the Ministry of Education and the National Institute of Statistics will continue in the form of a direct transfer of data from RMUR and the national platform for the collection of statistical data for higher education (ANS) to the National Institute of Statistics.
Development of students’ and teachers’ digital and intercultural competences
For the development of students’ and teachers’ digital and intercultural competences, the eTwinning action supports the implementation of digital international partnerships with the European School Education Platform. In Romania, under eTwinning, teachers and students are actively involved in digital partnership projects which facilitate the development of transdisciplinary skills. Every year, more than 2 000 new teachers join the eTwinning action (at the end of the first trimester of 2023, there were 37 000 teachers from Romania in the eTwinning community and more than 25 000 students were involved in eTwinning cross-border digital partnerships). Moreover, last year, the eTwinning National Centre provided training opportunities (online and/or face-to-face) for more than 4 000 teachers.
Promoting and supporting excellence in education through the development of information technology skills
The project aims to increase students’ and teachers’ IT competence level. The project, funded by a non-reimbursable grant offered by the Government of Japan, aims to ensure the best training and development conditions for students in grades 9-13 with the profile of study mathematics-computer science, who are capable of high achievement. Moreover, the project stipulates that 60 centres will be provided with IT equipment, which will be subject to public procurement. The specification for the procurement of IT equipment was completed in the first trimester of 2023 and a new agreement is worked on with the Embassy of Japan in order to extend the project by 31 December 2024.
An integrated national platform - Wireless Campus
The investment project is in the implementation phase. The deadline for its implementation is 14 August 2023.
Digital platform with open educational resources (EDULIB) (Virtual Library)
The project is in course of implementation. The EDULIB platform has been set up and the enrolment of users (students and teachers) in the system comes next. The educational resources are in course of migration (the existing ones, which are technologically updated) or in course of development (the new ones). The testing phase for functionalities has been successfully completed. Security and availability tests have also been conducted. There are ongoing activities for the development of the platform with open educational resources. The estimated physical progress at project level, at the beginning of April 2023, was about 75 %. The term assumed by the supplier for the launch of the platform is the third trimester of 2023.
Implementation of compensation/correction measures for disadvantaged groups
Second chance measures
To continue the second chance initiatives, projects are implemented under the competitive call for proposals Second chance measures, which provides funding for actions aimed at ensuring an appropriate provision of second chance educational programmes. They concern a number of 8 236 children/young people/adults who completed second chance programmes due to the support they received, and a number of 9 875 members of the teaching staff/ support staff who improved/certified their level of competences. The projects will be implemented by the end of the fourth trimester of 2023.
Second chance measures for NEETs
Under the competitive calls for proposals addressing second chance measures for NEETs, funding was provided for measures to support NEET young people who have not completed compulsory education, so as to reintroduce them into the education and training system. The grant contracts under these calls aim to support a number of 8 691 unemployed NEETs who completed a second chance programme and a number of 755 unemployed NEETs who acquire a qualification following the support they received.
Digitalization of education
The Ministry of Education has launched the following calls for proposals, funded under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP):
- Providing schools and their related settings with furniture, teaching-learning resources and digital equipment:
- Types of investment: providing furniture for classrooms, providing teaching-learning resources and equipment for laboratories and school offices, purchasing the required IT equipment for the teaching-learning process, providing computer science laboratories and the practical training workshops in vocational and technical education schools with specific equipment.
- The purpose of the call: digitalisation and improvement of the educational infrastructure so as to ensure a quality, modern and inclusive educational process:
- 1. Digitalisation of learning media in school education. The total allocation is distributed for every investment as follows: 5200 computer science laboratories will be equipped. At least 3 600 schools with primary, secondary and high-school classes will be equipped with IT equipment for the digitalisation of learning resources. 909 computer science laboratories in vocational and technical education schools.
- 2. School infrastructure. The total allocation is distributed as follows: 75 000 classrooms/rooms for out-of-school or sports activities will be provided with furniture. 10 000 laboratories/school offices in the school education system, including offices for psychological-pedagogical assistance.
- 3. Provision of equipment, including digital equipment, for the practical training workshops in the vocational and technical education network: the total amount is allocated for 909 vocational and technical education schools provided with functional laboratories for practical training.
- Provision of smart laboratories in upper secondary schools and in children’s palaces and clubs aims to:
- Create, in every high-school, college, vocational school, as well as in children’s palaces and clubs, a smart laboratory (“smart lab”), by providing digital equipment specific to a complex classroom, like a STEAM room (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), so as to offer experiential learning opportunities.
- The call is intended to provide, for all Romanian students in the high-school cycle, free access to advanced digital education, by establishing at least one smart lab in every high-school, as well as in children’s palaces and clubs, in order to improve the advanced digital skills of the young generations as from their school years.
- Accredited public/private upper secondary schools and children’s palaces and clubs will be provided with “smart lab” ICT equipment and educational resources which are specific to a smart laboratory. A smart laboratory is a space provided with digital equipment, which may support the teaching-learning-assessment process at all school subjects. A modern concept of virtual learning offering the possibility of adaptation to all school subjects, to any high-school profile. Applied technology and project-based and problem-based learning may facilitate personalized learning.
- The laboratory facilitates the approach of all learning styles, allowing each student to work at their own pace. The smart laboratory concept, from hardware/software and construction kits to curriculum and assessment, works in an integrated way so as to support hands-on learning. Smart laboratories will be pillars for the development of the digital skills required for embracing the opportunities provided by the new technologies and the professions of the future.
- Accredited public or private upper secondary schools (colleges, high-schools, technological high-schools, vocational schools, including the schools with dual education classes) will be able to obtain funding for “smart lab” ICT equipping and specific educational resources for the development of a smart laboratory, adapted to their educational profile.
Digitalisation of assessment
The Ministry of Education, through the school inspectorates and in partnership with Brio, an ed-tech platform for measuring educational performance, conducted a pilot programme of standardised assessment at the end of the 2021/2022 school year. The first phase of the national standardised assessment pilot programme took place in 7 schools, including schools with a pedagogical profile, from each county/district of Bucharest. The objective pursued was to test a method of digital assessment for determining the level of competences achieved by students at the end of a school year at the subjects Romanian Language, Mathematics and History. Almost 150000 students from 526 schools took part in this pilot programme. Overall, 280237 tests were taken (85 % of the total tests scheduled for students in grades 1-7 and 9-11), at two school subjects – Romanian Language and Mathematics or History, respectively. Standardised tests provide an assessment of students’ school performance based on data and up-to-date statistics technology – the item response theory.
The results of the piloting process will be used to establish, in two years, a standardised assessment platform, funded under NRRP. Standardised assessment will be based on curricular standards and assessment standards which will be developed until 2023 in a POCU project with European funding, Standardisation and unitary assessment for the school education system - STANDEV, where the beneficiary is the National Centre for Educational Policies and Assessment.
Implementation of compensation/correction measures for disadvantaged groups
The calls for project proposals are aimed at support actions focused on increasing access to education measures for NEETs. A NEET unemployed is defined as a person aged between 16 and 24 years who has no job, does not attend a form of education and does not participate in training activities. Support measures refer to educational, psychological, social, etc. support for identifying these young people, enrolling them in a school, as well as for developing and providing “second chance” programmes for completing basic education in the framework of compulsory education and preparing for getting a qualification, as appropriate.
- Under the call for proposals Second chance educational measures for NEETs – less developed regions, 5 projects are implemented.
- Under the call for proposals Second chance education measures for NEETs – more developed region – Bucharest-Ilfov includes a project under implementation.
Digitalization of education
Regarding the development and integration of the information system in education and research, web services were developed for the individual transfer of data uploaded to the Integrated Educational Register (REI), in the Students, Graduates and Labour Market (SAPM) platform, and specific reports were prepared for data overlap from SAPM with the data from the Single Matriculation Register (RMU). The interconnection of databases is being implemented, through the project Quality in higher education: internationalization and databases for the development of Romanian education. At present, both the correlation between the RMU and ANS nomenclatures and the verification of the existing data are being performed, the process being expected to complete by the end of the project i.e. at the end of first semester of 2022 year.
Another investment project, The National Integrated Platform - Wireless Campus is in the implementation phase. So far, the Wi-Fi infrastructure has been built, which is operational in approx. 4,200 schools out of the total of 4,500 targeted by the project. The project aims at connecting all the buildings in which teaching activities unroll to ICT infrastructure and the Internet, as well as equipping these buildings with Wi-Fi access infrastructure.
The Digital Platform project with educational resources (EDULIB) (Virtual Library) is in the implementation phase, and currently the stage of technical evaluation of the applications already submitted is ongoing.
The project A computer-based system for the management of schooling in school education – SIMS aims to develop and implement a platform and a centralised national methodology for collecting, handling and analysing information about school achievement and the daily school activity in school education. A contract has been signed for management services which are necessary to the implementation of the project, and the award procedure related to the contract is under way. The implementation of the project is estimated to start in 2021.
The competitive call A Second Chance Measures for NEETs provides funding for measures intended to support NEET young people who have not completed compulsory education, so as to include them again into the education and training system. After the evaluation of 30 applications submitted in 2020, only 4 have been selected to receive funding, and their implementation started in January 2021 and should be completed at the end of 2023 year.
Within the Human Capital Operational Programme (HCOP) 2014-2020, the competitive call for Second Chance Education Measures for NEETs was re-opened; 38 projects applications were submitted in 2020 and they are currently under evaluation phase.
In 2021, ME in its capacity of partner in the project financed by the Human Capital Operational Programme INTESPO - Registration of Young People in the records of the Public Employment Service (PES) employed 18 school counsellors outside the organisational chart of the ministry. As for the young people who did not complete their compulsory education, 168,622 young people were classified as NEETs, of which 153,490 were registered in the PES register.