The Ministry of Education (ME) continues the reforms in the field of education and training, in view of ensuring an education adapted to the market requirements and focused on personal and social development, with positive impact on the prevention and combating the early school leave.
The context of the COVID-19 pandemic
From the perspective of mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, ME has applied several concrete steps in all four of its sector strategies. These measures will be reflected in the 2020 Integrated Report on the four strategies, which is under preparation phase. An implementation report for the entire period 2015-2020 covered by the four sectoral strategies will be available by late 2021.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to help closing the achievement gaps and to support the design of teaching activities in the school year 2020-2021, implementing regulation on school subjects were developed and made available online (See the online platform). The Education Research Unit prepared the research report Distance Learning. Research on the educational activities carried out in Romania, during the suspension of face-to-face learning. This study aimed at finding respondents’ perceptions and opinions on the access, conduct, and attendance in distance learning activities, support needs and priority areas for intervention by central and local authorities, as well as proposals to increase the efficiency of the organization of the distance learning).
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, GEO No 144/2020 put in place a legal framework to equip students with mobile IT equipment and medical protection items in order to ensuring the minimum hygienic-sanitary conditions in public pre-university educational establishments lacking connection to the water & sewerage network.
Also, in this pandemic context, the School at Home national programme is implemented, by ministerial order (for which the Order of the Education and Research Minister no. 4738/2020) approved the necessary number of electronic devices with an internet connection, as well as the criteria for the distribution of the devices purchased in the programme to primary, lower secondary and upper secondary students in full-time education (i.e. the preparatory grade, grades 1-12, the vocational school). Thus, in December 2020, the delivery of 250,000 tablets, 10,000 webcams and 22,000 laptops allocated was completed.
Government Decision no. 756/2020 has approved the National Programme Safe Education which provides for allocations from the Budget Reserve Fund at the Government’s disposal. By 1 April 2021, through this programme, 39,149 tablets, 4,698 webcams and 3,109 computers (desktop, all-in-one, laptop) were purchased.
Efforts are made to modernise the school curriculum for primary, secondary, high school, VET and TVET routes. The draft curriculum framework for the high school – theoretical studies, VET, and TVET routes - were developed and published for public consultation held by the end of January 2021.
In the school year 2021-2022, school curricula for special preschool education, primary and lower-secondary (gymnasium) education will be developed/ revised, in accordance with the related curriculum framework, approved by MO No 3622/2018.
In the project CRED - Relevant Curriculum, Education Open to All, several documents was approved:
Milestones for the design, updating and evaluation of the National Curriculum.
Methodology on the development of the school-based curriculum.
The CRED project also produced a series of studies and reports relevant to updating curriculum approaches, such as:
Report on the school based -curriculum and the current regulatory framework.
Comparative analysis of the European recommendations on key competences.
Through the CRED project, in the period 2021-2022, the following activities are to be completed:
reviewing the methodology of the Second Chance programme
elaboration of specific school curricula for the Second Chance programme for primary and lower-secondary education (including the related framework)
elaboration and publication of implementing regulations for the different study subjects in primary and lower-secondary education (18 completed guidelines – 15 Implementing regulations for the application of new school curricula in primary and lower-secondary education, guidelines on curriculum management for school principals/ inspectors and guidelines on open educational resources development and evaluation)
development of open educational resources (OER) and other relevant resources to support the implementation of the new school curricula (7,200 OERs are to be completed by 14 August 2022 i.e. the project end date)
20 model curricula for integrated optional subjects (including Second Chance)
a baseline study on the assessment of the competences of 4th grade graduates, from the perspective of acquiring key competencies, especially for pupils from disadvantaged groups.
The quality of the educational act
In order to increase the quality of pre-university education, for a complete configuration of a data collection and processing mechanism by ME, the Human Resources module was developed within the Integrated Information System of Education in Romania (SIIIR). SIIIR has also been set up to collect data on students’ and teachers’ access to Internet-connected devices, as well as to collect data on face-to-face learning suspension timeframes. SIIIR benefits from new attributes related to students. Currently, the Financial Data module of SIIIR is being tested in 16 counties and is to be applied, at national level, by the end of 2021, following the training of its future users.
In order to improve the management tools of quality education were approved:
Institutional evaluation methodology for the authorization, accreditation and regular evaluation of the educational organizations.
The updated standards for authorization, accreditation and regular external evaluation in pre-university education.
Under the new legislation, internal and external evaluation of the quality of education will focus on key factors that: improve school attendance, learning outcomes and the well-being of the child/ young person, as well as on the capacity of teachers, school managers and the community in relation to the above factors, but also on the communication and cooperation with all stakeholders, equity in education provision, combating discrimination, school segregation and bullying, and the promotion of social inclusion and interculturality.
The ROSE Project regarding the Secondary Education
ME implements, in the period 2015-2022, the project on secondary education - ROSE, (Romania Secondary Education Project) financed by the Loan Agreement concluded between Romania and IBRD on 2015, ratified by Law.
The project aims to reduce dropout in upper secondary education and the first academic year of tertiary education and to increase the success rate of students at the Baccalaureate exam, with the following expected results:
a reduced school dropout rate in the final grades of high schools supported through the project,
a decreased the percentage of high schools with school dropout over 7%,
an increased graduation rate and success rate of students at the Baccalaureate exam in the high schools supported by the project, and
increased retention rate in the first academic year in the faculties supported by the project.
ROSE supports the transition of students from the upper secondary education system to tertiary education, using a decentralized approach, based on individual grants to high schools.
874 grants are being implemented and propose activities aimed at achieving the above-mentioned objectives, which include:
counseling, and career guidance,
coaching, personal development and development of socio-emotional skills, as well as
extracurricular and information activities (visits/ excursions, training courses, participation in competitions and the formation of interscholastic networks).
To support the increase of the quality of teaching and learning activities in the high schools benefiting from ROSE grants, for each of them a mentor was assigned to support the pedagogical team in improving the teaching approaches and practices with focus on student, and the ability to adapt the school curriculum to the student’ needs and skills.
Five pedagogical guidelines for high schools were developed and made available to all stakeholders on the ROSE project website:
guidelines for inclusive education,
guidelines for remedial and tutoring activities,
guidelines for counselling and career guidance,
guidelines for development socio-emotional skills,
guidelines for personal development and coaching.
Regarding the strengthening of the social package in education, targeting pupils and students from groups facing particular risks, ME continues to run its annual national social programmes such as Money for High School, Euro 200 or Hot Meal for students.
Money for High-School (the programme is intended to give a monthly scholarship (allowance) for students from economic and social disadvantaged backgrounds to help them continue their studies after having completed lower secondary education),
A Hot Meal for Students (the Pilot programme to provide food support for preschoolers and students in 150 public school education establishments).
the programme School Supplies
The implementation Romanian School Programme has continued. This programme provides free fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, dairy and bakery products for all children in kindergartens and students in public and private primary and lower secondary education.
In order to ensure the inclusion of children with special educational needs (SEN) and to ensure compliance of the Romanian education system with the requirements of the international legal framework on the rights of persons with disabilities, the admission schedule in state high school education for the school year 2021-2022 includes a section on admission to mainstreaming high school education of SEN applicants.
With reference to of the access of Roma students to high school, in the school year 2020-2021 the admission of candidates for special vacancies for Roma in public high school and vocational/ dual VET education was organized.
The project Early Warning Mechanism to Prevent Early School Leaving aims to monitor, prevent and combat early school leaving. This project is implemented with the support of World Bank experts. Currently, the project is in the pilot testing phase in 11 schools from 10 counties throughout Romania. The national Integrated Education Information System (SIIIR) has been completed with a new IT module to be integrated in SIIIR and which will allow the collection of data and information necessary to monitor the risk of early school leaving. Pilot testing involves collecting data from 467 schools with students from vulnerable groups in the 10 counties targeted. We aim at extending the project at national level, through NRRP.
In order to reduce and prevent early school leaving and promote equal access to quality pre-school, primary and secondary education, projects under two competitive calls for proposals that are under implemented as follows:
School for All - which promotes integrated measures to prevent and reduce early school leaving for young and adult schoolchildren, to support teaching staff, including through Second Chance and School after School programmes.
Motivated teachers in disadvantaged schools is a call targeting the most disadvantaged schools, who have many children at risk of dropping out and which fail to attract or retain qualified teachers.
The Ministry of Education and Research continues the reforms in the field of education and training, in view of ensuring an education adapted to the market requirements and focused on personal and social development, with positive impact on the prevention and combating the early school leave.
The Ministry of Education and Research published on the website the guides for organising and carrying out the activities in school education establishments in the 2020/2021 school year, in the context of the COVID-19 epidemics.
After the opening of the 2020/2021 school year on 14 September 2020, the Ministry of Education and Research initiated the procedure for monitoring the dynamics of the scenarios related to the functioning of the school education establishments, at national level, which is influenced by the evolution of the epidemiologic situation in each county.
The quality of the educational act
Specific standards have been identified for: high-school education, aptitude-based and technological education, vocational education, post-secondary education, ante-preschool/preschool education, special education and special education functioning in re-education centres/penitentiaries/detention centres. The new standards simplify the internal and external assessment of the quality of education due to a re-focus of the quality improvement activity on essential aspects, the use of data and documents already existing in the school, the computerisation of the internal and external assessment activity.
Target: Evaluation, by 2024, of about 3500 public and private schools which have not gone through the periodical external evaluation process, in accordance with the provisions of the specific methodology.
The annual social programmes of the Ministry of Education and Research are funded and designed so as to support students in disadvantaged groups. With these programmes, conditions are created to ensure equal opportunities of education for students coming from groups with particular risks (students from rural areas, Roma children, etc.).
Regarding the consolidation of the social package in education targeting the groups of pupils and students facing particular risks, The Ministry of Education and Research continues to conduct annual social programmes to support students from disadvantaged areas, namely: School supplies, Money for high-school, Euro 200, VET scholarships, Reimbursement of transportation costs, School supplies for pre-schoolers and students - equal chances for education, Hot meal for Students.
The Government Extraordinary Decree no. 70/2020 amended the National Education Law 1/2011, making the domestic road, maritime and railway transportation free for school students. The Government Decision no. 435/2020 approved the procedure for settling school student transportation costs and amended and complemented the Methodological guidelines for granting domestic railway and subway transport facilities for school students and university students. Therefore, school students benefit from free transportation throughout the year.
In 2020, the Government Extraordinary Decree no. 9/2020 approved the Pilot programme for food support for preschoolers and students in 150 public schools (A Hot Meal). The Government Decision no. 236/2020 approved the Methodological Guidelines for the application of the programme A Hot Meal.
Continuing Romania’s Programme for Schools, which provides for free fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, dairy and bakery products; the beneficiaries of the Romania’s Programme for Schools are all preschoolers in public and private kindergartens with normal hours and all students in public and private primary and lower secondary education.
Implementation of the programme The School at Home – the procurement of 250,000 electronic devices with internet connexion for students and teachers and the payment of the internet subscription for 2 years (Government Decision no. 370/2020). The criteria for their assignment shall be determined by a minister order. Output indicators: the number of beneficiaries – 250,000 beneficiaries.
Restructuring the school curriculum (the framework curricula and the subject curricula) is necessary for promoting education guided by values, creativity, cognitive skills, volition skills and action skills, basic knowledge, and knowledge, competences and skills directly useful to the profession and in society (Article 2, paragraph 1 of the National Education Law 1/2011) and focusing the curriculum on the development and expansion/diversification of key-competences (Article 68). The curricular review shall emphasise more the development of transversal skills, including digital skills, skills relating to sustainable development and social-emotional skills. The review of the national curriculum is in accordance with the legislation amending the National Education Law 1/2011 as it reduces the average number of hours for each education level (Article 66).
Phases for school year 2020-2021
Approval of Framework Curricula for high-school education – the theoretical path.
Continuing the application of the Framework Curricula for special education at preschool, primary and lower secondary levels. Their application began in the 2019/2020 school year for preschool education, the preparatory grade and grade 1 and continues in the 2020/2021 school year for grades 2, 6 and 9.
Continuing and completing the implementation of the project Relevant Curriculum, Open Education for All (CRED), which will:
train and certify 50,000 teachers in primary and lower-secondary education following the approval and the progressive, annual introduction of new subject curricula;
develop 17 guides for the implementation of the national curriculum for primary and lower-secondary education, after an analysis of the proposals from the teachers participating in the training courses.
The ROSE Project regarding the Secondary Education
The project for secondary education (Romania Secondary Education – ROSE), funded by a loan from IBRD, is implemented over the period 2015-2022.
The activities dedicated to school education include funds given to low performing high-schools, based on a grant scheme, to reduce the school dropout rate, increase the high-school graduation rate and improve performance at the Baccalaureate Examination.
The main actions which may receive grants are:
(i) remedial, counselling, guidance and vocational guidance activities and personal development activities (at least 50% of the direct costs);
(ii) extracurricular and information activities, such as research visits/trips, traineeships, participation in competitions and creation of school networks (up to 30% of the direct costs);
(iii) minor civil engineering works for renovation, interior design of school buildings (for example: laboratories), with no negative impact on the environment, and the procurement of goods (up to 20% of the direct costs).
The project ROSE provides funding for bridge summer programmes, competitive grants for public faculties to help them deliver courses or other relevant activities for high-school students, primarily for the disadvantaged ones, offering them an academic experience intended to make them familiar with the academic worlds and initiate the early development of relevant skills for being successful in university education.
Phases for school year 2020-2021:
Continuing the implementation of the 728 projects submitted by the high-schools in rounds 1 and 2 of the Grant Scheme for High-Schools.
Completing the evaluation of the projects proposed by the high-schools in round 3 of the Grant Scheme for High-Schools and approving them by an order of the education and research minister (about 150 projects).
Signing the grant agreements (contracts) for the approved projects, provided that the necessary commitment appropriations are received.
Giving the first tranche (advance) for high-schools in round 3, provided that the necessary budgetary allocations are received.
Starting the procurement of laptops (about 74,000 laptops) and other equipment for the high-schools eligible for ROSE grants, provided that the necessary budgetary allocations are received.
Continuing the implementation of 105 projects under the grant scheme for universities Bridge Summer Programmes.
The Ministry of National Education continues the reforms in the field of education and training, in view of ensuring an education adapted to the market requirements and focused on personal and social development, with positive impact on the prevention and combating the early school leave.
Regarding the consolidation of the social package in education targeting the groups of pupils and students facing particular risks, MEN continues to conduct annual social programmes to support students from disadvantaged areas, namely: School supplies, Money for high-school, Euro 200, VET scholarships, Reimbursement of transportation costs, School supplies for pre-schoolers and students - equal chances for education, Hot meal for Students.
With regard the VET scholarships, the general criteria for granting scholarships to students from state pre-university education were amended.
The Framework Curricula for special education for children with moderate and low intellectual disabilities, severe, serious, associated intellectual disabilities, vision disabilities, hearing disabilities and motor disabilities, and the Framework Curricula for educational establishments and affiliated classes within detention, educative and penitentiaries have been approved and will be applied from 2019/ 2020 school year.
The new School curricula for 5th to 8th grades, approved by the Ministry of National Education’s Order (OMEN) No 3393/2017, apply in the school year 2017-2018, starting with the 5th grade.
For the 2018/2019 school year, textbooks for 63 subjects have been printed and distributed free of charge for grades 1 – 6, and they have also been translated in the national minority languages. The textbooks have been loaded in PDF format www.manuale.edu.ro. This is the first time when people with hearing disabilities will have digital textbooks adjusted to their needs and also the first time when there are textbooks for 26 subjects in the languages of national minorities (in 9 languages of the national minorities).
In November 2017, the implementation of the non-competitive project Relevant curriculum, open education for all (CRED) started. The project implementation timeframe is four years. The project will review the curriculum for primary and lower secondary education, will provide training for 55000 teachers, and will create educational resources to support them. CRED is going to develop a new methodology for the school-based curriculum in lower secondary education. The CRED project will ensure the development of Framework Curricula and the methodology for the “A Second Chance” for primary education and lower secondary education.
The ROSE Project regarding the Secondary Education
In order to stimulate the graduates of higher secondary education to continue their studies in tertiary education (higher education or other forms of post-secondary education), the implementation of the grant scheme for high schools in the Romanian Secondary Education Project - ROSE continues.