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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisation of primary education


5.Primary education

5.1Organisation of primary education

Last update: 27 November 2023


The general legal framework for organising and functioning of Pre-university education, including primary education, is established by the Law of National Education (Law 1/2011).

According to the provisions of the Law of National Education (Law 1/2011), primary education includes the preparatory grade and I to IV grades.

The specific organisational framework for the entire activity of pre-university education institutions is set by the Regulation for Organisation and Functioning of Pre-university Education Institutions (Order of the Minister of National Education and Scientific Research no. 5079/2016).

The State and private pre-university educational institutions network is organized by local public authorities, with the approvals of the school inspectorates.

Legal persons and individuals may establish primary school educational institutions, according to the law. Pre-university educational institutions, irrespective of their type, level, form, programme, are evaluated and accredited on a regular basis, in compliance with the applicable law.

The school inspectorates shall establish, for each administrative-territorial unit, after consultation with the representatives of the school units and the local public administration authorities, the school districts of the educational units that educate pre-school, primary and lower-secondary groups and / or classes in compliance with the legal provisions.

The school district is made up of all the streets close to the education unit and affiliated to it, in order to educate preschool / pupils in preschool, primary and gymnasium education.


Geographical Accessibility

Public primary education is organised in independent units (primary schools) or within schools covering all grades from I to VIII.

In urban areas, primary education can also be organised in schools covering grades I to XII/XIII (usually in arts, sports or pedagogical schools).

In rural areas, independent public primary schools are organised mostly in the villages where the number of pupils is too low to also organise gymnasium.

Persons belonging to national minorities have the right to study and receive instruction in their mother tongue, at all levels and forms of education with appropriate request, in compliance with this law. Taking into account local needs, groups, classes, sections or school units with teaching in the languages of national minorities may be established, upon request of parents or legal guardians and in compliance with the provisions of law.

Any Romanian citizen or citizen of the EU or Swiss Confederacy may enrol and study, irrespective of their mother tongue and of the language in which he/she has previously studied, to all forms of education in the Romanian language, in the languages of the national minorities, or in international languages.

Admission Requirements and Choice of School

The Law of National Education (Law 1/2011) stipulates that children reaching the age of 6 before the beginning of the school year are enrolled in the preparatory grade.

At the written request of their parents, tutors-at-law, or legal sponsors, children reaching the age of 6 by the end of the calendar year may also be enrolled in the preparatory grade, if they are adequately developed from the physical and somatic point of view.

The educational institutions with classes of compulsory education in primary and in lower secondary education enroll primarily pupils who have their domicile in the school district of the respective educational establishment, within the approved schooling plan. Registration is based on a written request from the parent, tutor-in-law or legal supporter.

The parent, tutor-in-law or legal supporter has the right to request the child's schooling at another school with primary or secondary education classes than the one where his / her domicile is located. Enrollment is based on a written request from the parent, tutor-in-law or legal supporter and is approved by the board of the educational establishment in which the registration is requested, within the limits of the approved cshooling plan, after the enrollment of the pupils from the school’s district.

Educational establishments conclude with their parents, tutor-in-law or legal supporters, when enrolling antepreschools / preschoolers / pupils in the unique register, an educational contract in which the reciprocal rights and obligations of the parties are entered.

The model of the educational contract is set out in the Annex to Regulation for Organisation and Functioning of Pre-university Education Institutions (Order of the Minister of National Education and Scientific Research 5079/2016). It is customized at the level of each educational establishment by decision of the board of directors, after consultation with the Parents' Council of the educational unit.

On the basis of the documents provided by the local authorities and the population record service, the educational establishments have the obligation to make annually the census of the children in the school district who are of the appropriate age for enrolling in preschool and primary education.

In each county are organised a number of schools providing primary education with supplementary or integral arts/sports programme. These schools function according to a specific curriculum that ensures both accomplishment of the finalities and educational objectives specific to primary education and intensive arts/sports training. The admission of pupils in these schools is subject to a testing of their skills according to the specificity of the arts/sports intensive training programme. The number of classes per week for this type of schooling is bigger than for the normal programme.

The special and specially integrated education for preschool / pupils with mild and moderate or severe / associated deficiencies is organized individually, by groups or classes defined by law, depending on the type and degree of deficiency.

Age Levels and Grouping of Pupils

According to the provisions of the Law of National Education (Law 1/2011), primary education includes the preparatory grade grades and I to IV grades and is organised for pupils aged 6-11.

A class of any grade in primary education works with one teacher in the primary education and comprises in average 20 pupils, but no less than 12 and no more than 25. However, the Ministry of National Education can approve classes below the minimum or over the maximum number of pupils per class – according to the specific conditions (isolated areas, classes with tuition in the languages of the national minorities, etc.). In general, classes are homogenous regarding the age of the pupils.

The Ministry of National Education may approve the organization of The Second Chance type educational programmes with the purpose of promoting primary education for persons who, exceed by four years the appropriate grade age, and who for various reasons, failed to graduate from this educational level before the age of 14.

Organisation of the School Year

The school year begins on 1 September and ends on 31 August of the following calendar year.

The structure of the school year, the periods of courses, holidays and sessions of national exams, shall be established by Order of the Minister of National Education. For primary education, as in the case of pre-primary education, the school year in Romania comprises 2 semesters, 3 holidays during the school year and 1 summer holiday.

According to the law, schools can request County School Inspectorates amendments of the school year calendar due to objective reasons: special weather conditions, specificity of the area (agricultural activities), natural calamities, schools with the majority of the pupils of other beliefs than the Orthodox one, etc. The County School Inspectorates can approve such requests subject to the condition that for all pupils is respected the total number of school-weeks and corresponding school-days as established by the Ministerial Order.

During school holidays, preschool education establishments can organize, separately or in collaboration, educational activities with children based on the decision of their board of directors, who also approves the costs of food, observing the rights provided by the legislation in force and by collective labor agreements applicable to all unit staff. In order to participate in the educational activities, the parents and the educational unit conclude an additional act on the educational contract.

Organisation of the School Day and Week

The weekly (5-day week system) and daily timetables for primary education are established by the administration council of the schools subsequent consultations with the teachers and the parents and based on the following criteria:

  • The number of classes per week and subject within the range established by the National Curriculum for each grade, and

  • The minimum and maximum number of classes per week established by the National Curriculum for each grade.

Primary education is usually organised in the morning, starting each day of the week (5-day week system). For educational establishments that operate in at least two exchanges, the program is established by the school's board of directors.

Courses for preparatory grade and for pupils in the first and second grade will not start before 8.00 and will not end later than 14.00.

In primary education, the course time is 45 minutes, with a break of 15 minutes after each hour and a 20 minute break after the second hour. In the preparatory class and in the first grade, the teaching-learning-evaluation activities cover 30-35 minutes, the rest of the time being for free-chosen, recreational activities.

In cases where primary education classes work together with other higher education classes, the course time is 50 minutes, and recreational activities are organized in the last five minutes.

According to the provisions of the Law of National Education (Law 1/2011), educational institutions may extend their activities with their pupils after classes, by School after School Programmes, according to the decision made by the board of directors. Educative, recreational and leisure time activities are provided, in cooperation with the parents’ associations and with public authorities by School after school (school extension) activities, as well remedial learning activities, for the consolidation of the acquired competences or for speeding up learning. Where this is possible, the partnership may be carried out with non-governmental organizations responsible for this area.

The School after school type programmes are organized based on a methodology approved by order of the ministry of National Education. The State may finance the School after School learning programme for children and pupils from disadvantaged groups, according to the law.