This chapter provides a thematic and chronological overview of national reforms and policy developments since 2021.
The introduction of the chapter describes the overall education strategy and the key objectives across the whole education system. It also looks at how the education reform process is organised and who are the main actors in the decision-making process.
The section on ongoing reforms and policy developments groups reforms in the following broad thematic areas that largely correspond to education levels:
- Early childhood education and care
- School education
- VET and Adult learning
- Higher education
- Transversal skills and Employability.
Inside each thematic area, reforms are organised chronologically. The most recent reforms are described first.
Overall national education strategy and key objectives
Strategic Policy Framework for the Education and Training System at All Levels
For the period 2014-2020, the Ministry of Education has been responsible for meeting the thematic ex-ante 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, which refer to a strategic policy framework for reducing early school leaving, for higher education, lifelong learning, as well as for increasing the quality and efficiency of the education and training systems.
For the period 2021-2027, the Ministry of Education is responsible for meeting the condition referring to the existence of a Strategic Policy Framework for the Education and Training System at All Levels, related to the Policy Objective 4: A more social Europe through the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights. This precondition covers both the ESF and the ERDF investments which contribute to improving the quality, the effectiveness and the labor market relevance of the education and training systems, ensuring flexible advanced training and re-training opportunities for all and improving the access to quality and inclusive services in education, training and lifelong learning, including through the infrastructure development.
The National Strategic Framework for Educational Policies 2021-2027 is represented by:
- the project Educated Romania of the Presidential Administration.
- the national country defence strategy 2021-2024.
- the governmental programme 2021-2024.
- the national strategy for the sustainable development of Romania 2030.
The project of the Presidential Administration Educated Romania (adopted by the Government of Romania on 14 July 2021) and the 2020-2024 Government Programme provide the projections for the next period in education and training, responding to the challenges of the future for today’s society.
The main strategic guidelines of the Ministry of Education converge with European programme documents:
- European Green Deal
- 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
- European Pillar of Social Rights
Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030
the EU’s approach to minding the education, research and innovation gap
Recovery Plan for Europe.
To optimise and raise the quality of services provided by the public administration in the field of education through the creation of a predictable and stable regulatory framework and the development of a public policy based on strategic guidelines in school education and higher education with the 2030 horizon.
The Memorandum on the implementation of the project Educated Romania was adopted by the Government of Romania on 14 July 2021.
Content of action
The most extensive and comprehensive education reform project in Romania, Educated Romania, initiated and developed by the Presidential Administration, is a Country Project which intends to become the assumed landmark, which Romania needs, in order to improve and modernize Romanian education.
The Educated Romania project was included as a commitment into the National Defence Strategy, approved by the Parliament Decision no. 22/2020, which states that education systems go through a thorough change process as a result of the impact of demographic evolutions and also of the impact of new technologies, and developing the competences of the young generation and adults who participate in various re-qualification activities will be the key to the future.
The Educated Romania project has aimed at being a country vision in the field of education. The report blends, in one document, a coherent set of objectives and ambitious targets for education, on the horizon of 2030, offering solutions for improving the education system in its key domains.
First phase (2016-2017) began with an online questionnaire with more than 8000 answers. After that, there were eight regional topical conferences with more than 1000 participants and multiple consultation events implemented by third parties.
Second phase (2017-2018) involved the organisation of seven working groups, with experts from the civil society and from the public administration, with the following priority themes: the teaching career; equity; professionalization of educational management; vocational and technical education; higher education; early childhood education and care; assessment of school students and university students. Simultaneously, consultation events were implemented by third parties.
Third phase (2018 -2020) launched the preliminary results for public debate. Simultaneously, the Presidential Administration coordinated a project funded under the EU Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP), whereby four policy briefs were developed in cooperation with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), with the following themes: (1) the teaching career, (2) educational management, (3) equity, (4) early childhood education and care. Also, in this phase, the operationalisation of the project was included as a commitment in the National Country Defence Strategy for the period 2020-2024.
Phase 4 (2021) involved integrating the feedback and an update of the project report taking in light of recent developments, including lessons learned in the COVID-19 pandemic context. Moreover, some of the provisions of the project were included in the national recovery and resilience plan.
Phase 5 (since 2023) is an operationalisation with the implementation of the new education laws – Law of school education and Law of higher education – which were approved in July 2023.
Values promoted through the education system
- Equity – reducing the gaps in the system and ensuring the opportunity for quality education for children and young people from all backgrounds.
- Excellence – supporting and motivating excellence in the educational process.
- Integrity – ensuring value-based landmarks and promoting ethics in education, and also in life after graduation.
- Wellbeing – holistic development of the mind-body-soul triangle, with help from counselling and support measures.
- Professionalism – maintaining high standards in teacher training and, implicitly, in the education provided to school students and university students.
Respect – assuming respect for other people, institutions, environment and society, as a part of training.
Flexibility – ensuring an individualized educational path for every school student.
Diversity – granting respect for diversity and a tolerant environment in the educational process.
Transparency – using transparent assessment mechanisms and keeping an open and honest communication in the educational process.
Collaboration – developing the school-society partnership and keeping a constructive climate within the education system.
Priority areas for action
Several priority areas are included in the project Educated Romania, with objectives and specific measures. These areas are:
- The teaching career: developing a competence profile, the reform of initial training, improving quality and flexibility.
- Management and governance: improving the process of policy making, adapting local governance to the capacity of local public authorities, professionalisation of managers.
- Funding for the school education system: adapting funding to real needs, the reform of funding in early childhood education and care, increasing the absorption of EU funds and raising the level of funding.
- The infrastructure of the education system: reviewing the standards for infrastructure and endowment, adapting the school network to demographic evolutions, developing the infrastructure of vocational and technical education around some development poles, green schools.
- Competence-focused curriculum and assessment (focused on outcomes). It assumes: competence-focused curricular design; increasing curricular flexibility; monitoring and evaluating the curriculum; laying the basis of transversal competences related to health education, education for sustainability, education for democracy/society, including in the area of financial and legal education. The assessment of school/university students shall focus on competences, the development of standards and descriptors, enhancing the role of assessment in teacher training, digitalisation of assessment, ensuring feedback, etc.
- Quality inclusive education for all children: increasing access to education for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, reducing the early school leaving rate, school re-integration programmes, inclusive pedagogy, pro-equity policies, counselling services.
- Functional literacy: prioritizing functional literacy in the framework of the educational process, a competence-based curriculum that facilitates functional literacy. Improving the PISA, TIMSS results. Special attention shall be paid to school students’ media literacy, digital and scientific literacy.
- Promoting STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) education: encouraging the participation of school students in STEAM activities, preparing teachers to teach STEAM contents, ensuring the necessary endowment for teaching STEAM subjects, relevant external partnerships.
- Digitalisation: developing school students’ and teachers’ digital skills, developing a digital education ecosystem, programmes and education for data security and cyber security.
- Resilience: mechanisms for quick adaptation to crisis situations, improving the quality of school services in disadvantaged areas, developing skills related to resilience/self-esteem among school students and university students, preparing school students for social and economic changes, fighting bullying.
Sources of funding
Complementary to the allocations from the state budget, the main source of funding available to public authorities, i.e. to the main actors in the field of education, for the next period is the Multiannual Financial Framework, both under the Cohesion Policy and under Next Generation EU, an instrument which includes the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.
The chapter dedicated to the funding of education in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan is called Educated Romania, and the budget allocated to education is substantive. Maintaining an allocation dedicated to education, balanced in relation to the targets and the objectives in this report, in the negotiation of the operational programmes for the period 2021-2027 is essential for the following operational programmes: Education and Employment Operational Programme, Operational Programme for Smart Growth, Digitalization and Financial Instruments, Inclusion and Social Dignity Operational Programme, as well as in the framework of the eight Regional Operational Programmes.
New laws of educations
Once the report on Educated Romania was completed, the Ministry of Education drafted two education laws, namely Law of school education and Law of higher education, which were promulgated by the President of Romania, after an extensive consultation process, in July 2023 and take effect as from the 2023/2024 school and academic year.
These two new laws propose coherent solutions in accordance with the requirements of the beneficiaries of education, ensuring the unitary and systematic regulation of this area, so as to respond to the issues and challenges that have been identified – by the country reports and the country-specific recommendations too – in the national education and training system.
These education laws respond to the country-specific recommendations with measures designed to improve the quality of education, ensure equal access to education, especially for vulnerable groups and categories of beneficiaries, as well as to develop, assess and recognise key competences and professional competences which are necessary in the labour market.
Several principles have been taken into consideration in the development of these laws, such as coherence, predictability, performance and equity.
The reforms that have been promoted make sure that all children, irrespective of their background or particularities, have access to education, so that students can see school as the environment which helps them grow and where they are encouraged.
In this context, the programmes to be developed or continued by the new education laws will play an important part.
Therefore, for school education, there are programmes like:
- the second chance programmes
- the afterschool programme School after School
- remedial learning
- school at hospital
- the integrated national programme for reducing school dropout
- the national programme Healthy Meal
- the national programme A book for everyone
- the national programme on cultural vouchers for students
- the national plan for safety in school education
- the establishment of a national student card.
For higher education, the new law promotes programmes concerned with:
- reducing university dropout
- services and activities for lifelong career counselling and guidance
- support for the study of science, engineering and mathematics
- the internationalisation of universities
- scholarships for excellence and for Romanian students from all over the world.
Any subsequent legislation (irrespective of its form, from the draft put forward for consultation purposes to the final form approved by ministerial orders, Government decisions, etc.) deriving from the Educated Romania package of education laws is available for consultation on the official page of the Ministry of Education.
The draft laws propose coherent solutions, in accordance with the demands of the beneficiaries of education, ensuring some unitary and systematic regulation of this area, so as to resolve the problems and challenges that had been identified in the national education and training system, including in the country reports and in the country-specific recommendations (CSR). The two drafts respond to CSR with measures that will ensure the improvement of the quality of education; equal access to education, especially for vulnerable groups and categories of beneficiaries; as well as the development, assessment and recognition of key competences and professional competences which are necessary in the labour market.
National Reform Program 2023
Approved in May 2023.
Government of Romania
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as the national coordinator of the European Semester, has completed the process for the development of the national reform programme 2023, which was approved by a memorandum of the Romanian Government.
The national reform programme 2023 is structured so as follow the six pillars of the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility suggesting at the same time some complementary interventions in addition to those in the national recovery and resilience plan. It provides an overview of implemented measures and measures to be adopted by Romania in the short and medium term in the areas considered in the framework of the European Semester (tax-budgetary policy, green transition, digital transformation, businesses and economic competitiveness, labour market, social inclusion and the fight against poverty, health, administrative capacity, education and skills).
Chapter 3.7. Education and skills, developed by the Ministry of Education, includes implemented or foreseen measures which respond to tThe challenges identified in the framework of the European Semester, and especially in the country-specific recommendations (2019/2022) and also in the country reports for Romania.
National Recovery and Resilience Plan. Ministry of Education – Component C.15
The National Recovery and Resilience Plan, approved in November 2021, correlated with the Educated Romania project, includes 6 reforms and 18 important investments for the development of Romanian education.
There are 6 subcomponents (6 reforms and 18 investments) having as general objective to increase the resilience capacity of the educational system by modernising the educational infrastructure and the related equipment and furnishing, in correlation with the current and future needs of the labour market, so as to ensure participation in a quality, modern and inclusive educational process.
National Strategy on Environmental and Climate Change Education 2023-2030
January 2023 – December 2030
Ministry of Education, in cooperation with the Ministry for the Environment, Water and Forests
This strategy, which was approved by a government decision, is correlated with the European priorities for environmental protection and mitigation of climate change and with Romania’s specific commitments. The strategy will be translated into school curricula as from the 2023/2024 school year.
Directions for action
The document lays down clear actions to enhance education and awareness among children and youth with regard to sustainable development and environmental empowerment through the development of a national climate education programme.
The objectives and the measures provided for by the Strategy are concerned with several areas:
- (i) formal and non-formal education
- (ii) human resources, including teacher training
- (iii) investment
- (iv) open resources
- (v) partnerships etc.,
through four directions for action:
- Implementation of a climate and environmental educational programme.
- Solutions for educational resources.
- Infrastructure for sustainable schools.
- Human resources engaged in environmental and climate change education.
The Strategy proposes a range of solutions to raise students’ level of awareness and education with regard to the environment and climate change.
The Strategy includes objectives and measures which could be implemented right in the following years and also in the long term, until 2030. These objectives and measures are distributed across several tiers: formal and non-formal education; human resources, including teacher training; investment; open resources; partnerships, etc.
The role of environmental and climate change education is to contribute to modelling those individual, group and system behaviors leading to the degradation of nature and the environment and to empower people to contribute to problem solving and systemic changes. Moreover, the purpose of environmental and climate change education is to contribute to sustainability objectives in the long term; support relevant actors, including central and local public authorities, in fighting the serious effects of pollution, environmental degradation and climate change; and increase their capacity for intervention.
Therefore, this type of education has an orientation towards change and action, considering the following dimensions:
- A culture of complexity.
- Capacity for action.
- Co-responsibility for the environment.
National Strategy for Financial Education (SNEF), 2030
The current National Strategy for Financial Education is developed by several institutions that signed a protocol in 2018, namely the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Finances, the National Bank of Romania, the Financial Supervisory Authority and the Romanian Association of Banks, with the involvement of public and private stakeholders, following a public consultation procedure.
The implementation horizon of NSFE is 2030. Considering the need for an extensive consultation process with the stakeholders before the approval of the Strategy, it is possible that the first measures of the Strategy be implemented as from the end of 2023.
The purpose of the current National Strategy for Financial Education is to set specific objectives and directions for action at the horizon of 2030, so as to improve the level of financial education among Romanian school students, higher education students, adults and economic operators.SNEF will contribute, in the medium and long term, to increased wealth for consumers of financial-bank products in Romania, by:
- improving the financial knowledge of the groups identified in the strategy
- raising awareness of citizens’ rights and obligations in matters of financial products and services
- increasing financial resilience
- strengthening population’s financial discipline
- raising awareness of the importance of a fair and responsible tax conduct, both among adults and among future tax payers
- correlating the measures included in the strategy with protection measures for the consumers of financial products and services.
- Raise the level of financial education by developing skills in the area of financial education, among children and teenagers, and preparing them to become informed consumers of financial products, instruments and services.
- Improve the knowledge and skills of the adult population with regard to the planning of their own financial resources, saving for the future and being informed consumers of financial services, products and instruments.
- Increase the economic operators’ access to financial solutions so as to strengthen their financial discipline.
The specific objectives are defined for each group of target population: (i) Children and young people below the age of 25 years. (ii) Active adult population. (iii) Economic operators.
National strategy for parent education 2022-2030
This is the first time when an education law, namely Law of school education 198/2023, stipulates, that the state supports parents or legal guardians so that they can exercise their responsibilities related to raising, caring for, developing and educating their children. For this purpose, schools provide parent education courses in order to develop and improve the parenting skills of parents and legal guardians of primary beneficiaries or of future parents.[...] In accordance with the legislation, the Ministry of Education develops the national strategy for parent education, which shall be approved by a Government decision within 6 months from the entry into force of the school education law.
The vision of parent education in Romania, following the goals of the Educated Romania project of the President of Romania, proposes that parent education should have a significant contribution – through specific parent education and support measures, with a view to the country targets for 2030 – to the construction of a modern society with fulfilled parents, happy children and solidary communities.
The general objective of the strategy is to offer information, training, counselling and assistance and to value parents so as to provide the best support for the care, protection, nutrition, health and education of their children.
- Specific objective 1: Develop a unitary theoretical approach and the legislative-regulatory framework related to the provision of information, counselling, training, assistance and support for parents.
- Specific objective 2: Establish and ensure the functionality of a flexible, coherent, decentralised and integrated national parent education system.
- Specific objective 3: Improve the competences of professionals responsible for providing information, training, counselling, assistance and support for parents.
- Specific objective 4: Develop quality, accessible, inclusive, multidisciplinary and intersectoral parent education services/programmes.
The implementation of the Strategy will be ensured at central level by the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity, the Ministry of Family, Youth and Equal Opportunities, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry of Culture. The relevant ministries will sign a joint partnership protocol so they can assume their respective role in the implementation of the Strategy. Central/local authorities will conclude partnership agreements with international organisations and specific NGOs for developing and creating parenting education services and programmes.
After the Strategy will have been approved by the Government, the relevant ministries will develop the national plan for the development of parenting education, and integrated action plans will be developed at intersectoral level through the participation of the concerned ministries.
National Anti-corruption Strategy
Ministry of Justice
The goal of this strategy is to strengthen the national system for the prevention of and fight against corruption by reinforcing the mechanisms for identifying and managing the risks, threats and vulnerabilities related to this phenomenon, so as to guarantee professionalism and efficiency in the public sector and citizens’ safety and to support a developed social and economic environment.
General objectives and lines for action
Education is one of the priority sectors of the strategy, having a dedicated specific objective, namely the specific objective 4.2 of general objective 4 (General objective 4 – Strengthen integrity in priority fields). Considering the variety of activities, as well as the size of the sector, a substantial effort and an integrated approach are necessary for the implementation of measures.
Specific objective 4.2 Raise the level of integrity and reduce vulnerabilities and corruption risks in the national education system
Directions for action:
- the approach, within subjects aiming to develop and diversify social and civic skills in the framework of school education, of topics referring to the prevention of victimisation and discrimination, the rule of law, handling aggressiveness and preventing corruption
- the approval of a guide for the development of an ethics code adapted to the specific needs of school education establishments
- the reinforcement of standardised publication of information on revenues, expenses, public procurement, as well as the academic activity in the establishments of the public education system / educational institutions (centralised/aggregated publication)
- the extension of the protocol on legal education in schools, including for the academic environment
- strengthening the mechanisms for the authorisation/accreditation/certification of anticorruption course proiders in terms of quality of services, including through the establishment of a mechanism for ongoing quality assessment for services and the development of a randomised selection mechanism for the assessors of the National Authority for Qualifications participating in the certification examinations after the delivery of courses, while observing the obligations related to the conflict of interests and the revolving door between assessors and training providers
- bringing under regulation, in the primary legislation, those situations which may give rise to conflicts of interests or incompatibilities of the teaching staff, such as those practices where class teachers are also private tutors of their students, where students participate in after-school settings owned by their teachers or where teachers develop examination topics for their own students
- an increase in objectivity by identifying IT solutions to determine the components of the assessment formats in the education system (such as ARACIS (Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education), ARACIP (Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in School Education), CNPEE (National Centre for Policies and Evaluation in Education))
- ensuring that teacher evaluation is correct and in compliance with the objectives of the educational programmes concerned and the integrity rules by establishing a standard procedure for the randomised selection of the evaluation board members
- the organisation of ethics and integrity courses, with a focus on courses addressed to higher education teachers who teach ethics and integrity courses, while underlying the ethics aspects in university research methodology courses
- the use of antiplagiarism software both for major assessments (bachelor degree thesis, dissertation, doctorate thesis, etc.) in higher education and for current assessments in the programmes of study (for example, essays)
- the uniformization of the application of integrity standards, where the Ministry of Education should play an active role in upporting/providing methodological guidance for all those who are responsible for the implementation of the national anticorruption strategy in its subordinate or coordinated settings, including through the development of model procedures
- transparent and standardized decision-making processes in the area of quality assurance and also a clarification of the roles of public institutions with responsibilities in this area (for example, Ministry of Education – ARACIS (Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education)), so that decisions in this respect are predictable and easy to follow by their beneficiaries and the society as a whole; for example, transparency about how the recommended maximum number of higher education students to be enrolled is determined
- an impact evaluation and, as appropriate, the regular review of tools used for monitoring, evaluating and sanctioning violations of academic ethics and integrity.
The implementation of this specific objective will be monitored by a dedicated working group, which will meet on a trimestral basis. The monitoring procedure will be set out in detail in the methodology for monitoring the implementation of the strategy, approved by an Order of the Justice Minister after the consultation of cooperation platforms.
An overview of the education reform process and drivers
The priorities of the Ministry of Education for 2023, related to the priority areas in the Educated Romania project, are:
Development directions and priorities for school education
Development of the teaching career Improving management and redefining the governance of the education system
Improved funding for the school education system
Development of school education infrastructure
Updating the curriculum and competence-focused assessment
Ensuring inclusive and quality education for all children
Support and promotion of functional literacy
Promotion of STEM education
Supporting the digitalisation of education
Development of early childhood education and care
Development of vocational education and training
Development directions and priorities for higher education
- Increasing participation in forms of tertiary education
- Increasing participation in forms of lifelong learning
- Intensifying efforts for the internationalisation of Romanian higher education
- Increasing the capacity of the university management to implement national policies
- Increasing the autonomy of universities related to the use of their own funds and human resources policies
- Improving doctoral studies
- Strengthening the ethical climate in the academic environment
- Supporting partnerships, openness to society, orientation towards STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)
- Developing a digital ecosystem for university education.