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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice



Last update: 2 April 2024

Key features of the Education System

The education system is administered at:
  • national level by the Ministry of Education (MoEd)
  • central level, governance is ensured in cooperation with other ministries (for example, the Ministry of Finances for the funding allocated to educational institutions/establishments) and institutional settings subordinated to the Government,
  • local level there are the County School Inspectorates as local subordinated institutions. 

The Ministry of Education organizes and governs the national system of education, instruction, scientific research, technological development and innovation, having as partners both its subordinated institutions and the institutions under its coordination.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Education ensures communication on specific issues in its area of activity with:

  • the Parliament,
  • the Economic and Social Council,
  • the advocates of the civil society.


The overall legal framework for the organization, administration and functioning of education in Romania is laid down by: 

The specific procedures and regulations are laid down by Government Decisions and orders of the Ministry of Education.

The national educational system

  • It is an open system, allowing students' mobility through transfer from one school to another, from one class of students to another, from one profile of study to another and from one educational path to another.
  • It is a pluralist system (with public and private schools, confessional education, educational alternatives) and provides for schooling in the official language of state (Romanian), in students' mother tongues for students from national minorities or in world languages. 

In Romania, education is a national priority. 

The national school education system is made up of all public, private and confessional educational establishments that are temporary authorised or accredited. School establishments are governed by the authorities of the local public administration. 

The Romanian State ensure fair access, with no discrimination, to all levels and forms of school education for Romanian citizens, citizens of the EU Member States, citizens of the countries of the European Economic Area and citizens of the Swiss Confederation, minors who request or have obtained a form of protection in Romania, foreign minors and stateless minors whose stay in the territory of Romania is officially recognised under the law, citizens of third countries who are legally in the territory of Romania, as well as for British citizens and their family members as beneficiaries of the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community 2019/C 384 I/01.

In Romania, only documents of studies that are recognised by the Romanian State in accordance with the laws in force are valid.

The regime of documents of studies issued by educational establishments and educational institutions is set out by an order of the education minister. In accordance with School Education Law 198/2023, with a view to achieving the European Education Area by 2025, mechanisms have been established for the automatic recognition of diplomas at European level.

General compulsory education covers 14 school grades/years and includes the middle group and the senior group of preschool education (children aged between 4 and 6 years), primary education, lower secondary education and high-school (upper secondary) education. From 2030, the junior group (children aged 3-4 years) of preschool education will become compulsory too. 

Public education is free of charge. 

The modes of study in school education are:   

  • full-time education – day classes,    
  • full-time education – evening classes,    
  • part-time education. 

Full-time education refers to students’ presence at the school place.

Compulsory education is full-time education. 

For those who are more than 3 years older than the typical age of a school grade in primary education, or more than 4 years older than the typical age of a grade in lower secondary education, or more than 5 years older than the typical age of a grade in high-school education, compulsory education may also be organised as part-time education in compliance with a methodology approved by an order of the Education Minister or within a second chance programme.

The Ministry of Education, through the School Inspectorates – in cooperation with local public administration authorities, businesses, legally recognised cults and non-governmental organisations – may organise, for free and with a flexible length, second chance programmes both for primary education and secondary education, for people who are older than the typical age of a school grade/year, no matter if those concerned were or not enrolled in the school education system before and irrespective of the moment and the reasons why they dropped out school. People may enrol in a second chance programme by making a request online or by submitting such request to the school in their locality or to the nearest school.

Second chance educational programmes are organised by accredited/authorised educational establishments or by other entities in partnership with an accredited/authorised school establishment in line with the methodology for the organisation of the educational programme A Second Chance, approved by an order of the education minister.

Stages of the education system

The national education system includes the following levels: 

Early childhood education and care (children aged between 3 months and 6 years)

Early childhood education and care is made up of:

  • ante-preschool education and care (3 months—3 years)
  • preschool education and care (3—6 years), which includes: the junior group, the middle group and the senior group. In public institutions, early childhood education and care is free of charge.

Primary education (ISCED 1)

Primary education lasts for 5 years and includes:

  • the preparatory grade
  • grades 1—4.

Lower secondary education (ISCED 2)

Lower secondary education lasts for 4 years and includes grades 5-8. Access to the next level of education is through a national test and high-school admission examination based on a specific methodology. 

High-school education (ISCED 3)

High-school education (upper-secondary education), which, as a rule, lasts for 4 years, takes place in academic high-schools, aptitudinal high-schools and technological high-schools and covers grades 9-12 in full-time education, and grades 9-13 in full-time evening classes and part-time education.

There are three distinct paths in high-school education: 

  • the academic path, with the profiles: 
    • humanities, and 
    • science
  • the aptitudinal path, with the: 
    • military, 
    • theological, 
    • sports, 
    • arts, and 
    • pedagogical profiles
  • the technological path, with the: 
    • technical, 
    • services, 
    • natural resources and environmental protection profiles.

For part-time high-school education and for full-time evening classes the length of studies is 5 years.

A student who completes at least 3 years on the technological path or 4 years on the aptitudinal or academic path or in special technological education gains a Level 3 qualification under the National Qualifications Framework and has direct access to the labour market based on some specific vocational tests or an examination certifying a professional qualification.

Students from the technological path may continue their studies in the same high school so that they can take part in the Baccalaureate Examination. Students who pass the Baccalaureate Examination gain a Level 4 qualification under the National Qualifications Framework. 

Technological school education in a dual system is a form of organisation for technological high school and post-secondary education in public and/or private high schools, in post-secondary schools with a legal personality status or in non-university colleges which function within higher education institutions. Dual technological school education takes place under a contract.

Dual technological high-school education has the following features:

  • it is organised within a unitary framework by educational establishments or at the request of businesses, interested associations like chambers of commerce, employers’ associations from different industries, guilds or craftsmen’s associations, and clusters, as potential employers and partners for practical training.
  • it offers an alternative education and training route, organised based on partnership and in accordance with individual practical training contracts concluded with businesses that accept students’ practical training as a primary responsibility.
  • those businesses that provide practical training for students may award a grant, which should be at least equal to the one provided from public funds for technological high-school education, and they may also offer funding for other costs related to quality training.
  • the administrative-territorial units may support dual technological high-school education with funds to cover costs like investment, costs related to materials, scholarships and bonuses for students and the educational staff involved, costs related to mobility, and training costs.

Post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED 4)

Post-secondary non-tertiary education lasts between 1 and 3 years depending on the complexity of the qualifications involved and the number of ECTS credits in lifelong learning. It takes place in post-secondary schools with a legal person status or in settings with no legal person status of high schools with a legal person status or in non-university colleges functioning within higher education institutions, in compliance with a methodology approved by an order of the education minister. 

The regulations concerning the organisation and functioning of dual technological high-school education appropriately apply to dual post-secondary education too. Foremen schools are post-secondary schools.

Higher education (ISCED 5-8)

Higher education is organised only by education providers and higher education institutions that were granted a temporary authorisation or the accreditation in compliance with the law. 

Initial training in higher education is delivered through academic programmes organised in four cycles as follows:

  1. short cycle, which includes short-length higher education programmes
  2. cycle 1, which includes bachelor’s programmes
  3. cycle 2, which includes master’s programmes
  4. cycle 3, which includes doctorate programmes.

Admission to public, private and confessional higher education for every cycle of studies and programme falls within the area of competence of each higher education institution and takes place based on specific regulations concerning the organisation of admission and the admission process, laid down by every higher education establishment in compliance with the legislation in force. The Ministry of Education develops the framework methodology for the organisation of the admission process in higher education. 

Students who completed high-school education with a baccalaureate diploma or an equivalent diploma may participate in the admission to the first cycle of higher education.

Adult education

Adult education encompasses training programmes at all levels of qualification delivered in the public or private sector.

At public level, the Institute of Education Sciences offers training courses that promote education reforms.

Teacher Centres offer professional development courses related to the system of professional and transversal competences that are necessary for teachers and national and European policies and strategies in the area of education.

Structure of the National Education System

Structure of the National Education System  RO


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Useful links


The regulation of the functioning of the education system, national strategies

The certification and the equivalence of studies

School network - list of Romania educational institutions authorized and accredited  

Research and development of educational reforms

Quality assessment in education (Romanian Agency for Quality Assuarance in Pre-Universitary Education)

Quality assessment in education (Romanian Agency for Quality Assuarance in Higher Education)

The evaluation of key skills, national evaluations, OECD evaluation

Research and innovation in higher education

Development of the vocational and technical education

Statistical data 


Common European Reference Tools Provided by the Eurydice Network