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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Teaching and learning in general lower secondary education


6.Secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

6.2Teaching and learning in general lower secondary education

Last update: 27 November 2023


1 Curriculum, subjects, number of hours

2 Teaching methods and materials

According to  Legea educației naționale  1/2011, with its subsequent changes and additions, the National Curriculum for school education is centred on the development and diversification of key competences which define the student’s educational profile. To that end, the National Curriculum for lower secondary  education is focused on the development of key competences.

The table below presents the expectations from students at the end of lower secondary education:

Communication in the mother tongue

Searching for, collecting, processing information and listening to opinions, ideas, feelings in a variety of heard messages/read texts 

Expressing information, opinions, ideas, feelings, in oral or written messages, while adapting to the communication situation

Participation in verbal interactions in various school contexts and  outside school, in the framework of a proactive dialog

Communication in foreign languages

Identifying information, opinions, feelings in oral or written messages in a foreign language on familiar topics

Expressing ideas, opinions, feelings, in oral or written messages, on familiar topics 

Participation in verbal interactions on familiar topics, at a functional level 

Mathematics skills and basic skills in sciences and technologies

Showing interest in identifying regularities and mathematical relations in school situations and outside school, and correlating them  

Identifying quantitative or qualitative mathematical characteristics of concrete situations

Solving problems in concrete situations, using algorithms and tools which are specific to mathematics 

Processing and interpreting data and experimental evidence and representing them graphically 

Designing and conducting an investigation action in order to check a working hypothesis

Designing and making products which are useful to current activities 

Showing interest in a healthy life and in keeping the environment clean 

Applying some simple rules to maintain a healthy life and a clean environment

Digital competence

Using digital devices and applications to search for and select digital informational and learning resources  which are relevant to learning 

Developing multimedia digital contents within a learning context 

Abiding by the norms and rules regarding the development and use of virtual content (intellectual property rights, respecting private property, internet safety)

Learning to learn

Formulating objectives and simple learning plans to carry out some work tasks 

Managing the time allocated to learning and monitoring progress towards the completion of a work task 

Assessing personal qualities for the purpose of self- knowledge and for academic and professional purposes 

Social and civic skills

Working with values and behaviour norms which are relevant to one’s personal life and to the interaction with others

Positively relating to others in school contexts and outside school, by exercising rights and assuming responsibilities 

Showing availability for civic participation while observing the rules of the group and valuing diversity (ethnic and cultural, linguistic, religious, etc.)

Initiative and entrepreneurship 

Showing interest in identifying new solutions to solve routine and/or challenging learning tasks 

Demonstrating initiative in solving issues of the group one belongs to and in exploring issues of the local community 

Assessing personal qualities for the purpose of self- knowledge and for academic and professional purposes 

Identifying school and professional paths which are adequate to one’s interests

Cultural awareness and expression 

Appreciating some defining elements of the local cultural context and of the national and world heritage  

Making creative works by using various mediums, including digital mediums, in school contexts and outside school 

Participation in projects and cultural events organised in formal or non-formal contexts 

In lower secondary education  (grades 5 - 8) there is no specialisation of studies – lower secondary  education is provided as general education.

Using the School-Based Curriculum and extracurricular activities, a significant number of schools  have developed enhanced educational programmes, including, for example, the intensive study of modern languages, computer use, sports and arts activities etc. These programmes cannot be considered specialization. 

Curriculum, subjects, number of hours

The content of education at secondary level is provided for in the National Curriculum, which is defined by the Education Law  1/2011, with its subsequent changes and additions, as a coherent set of framework curricula and subject curricula in school education.

The Framework Curriculum includes the school subjects, the obligatory and optional areas of study, as well as the minimum and the maximum number of hours dedicated to them.

The Framework Curricula and the curricula for obligatory subjects/areas of study in school education are developed by the institutions and bodies authorised by the Ministry of National Education and are approved by an Order of the Education Minister.

The Framework Curricula in  lower secondary education group the subjects across seven curricular areas: Language and Communication; Mathematics and Sciences; Man and Society; Arts; Physical Education, Sport and Health; Technologies; Guidance and Counselling.

Teaching-learning activities for separate groups, of at least 10 students, may be organised in the following situations:

 activities organised in the framework of the School-Based Curriculum and/or extracurricular activities

 the intensive study of a modern language

 the study of modern languages for bilingual classes

 the intensive study of computer science.

The curricula for optional subjects/areas of study are developed at school level, through consultation with the Teacher Council, the Student Consultative Council, the parents’ association structure, and the representatives of the local community. The curricula are approved by the board of the school.

The share of compulsory subjects in the National Curriculum and that of optional subjects are determined in the Framework Curricula, observing the principles of  equal opportunities and fairness and relevance and decentralisation.

For each subject and area of study, the subject curriculum covers 75 per cent of the classes/hours dedicated to teaching and assessment, leaving at the teacher’s discretion 25 per cent  of the time allocated to a subject/area of study. Teachers decide whether the 25 percents of the time allocated to a subject/area of study are used for remedial learning, for consolidating knowledge or for encouraging the students who are capable of high achievement, based on the individual learning plans.

The Framework Curricula for lower secondary education  are structured in two components:

The school based curriculum  is indicated through the number of hours allocated to schools for creating their own curricular project. It  is determined in a decentralised way by each school, every school year for the next school year.

Types of optional provision

  • A new optional subject 
    • an object of study is introduced, other than those provided in the Core Curriculum and/or in the Differentiated Curriculum for a particular profile/specialisation
    • it involves the development by the teacher who proposes the new subject of a curriculum, as well as the approach of new specific competences/reference objectives and new contents. 
  • An integrated optional course
    • an object of study is introduced as a new subject, structured around an integrating theme for a particular curricular area or for several curricular areas
    • it involves the development by the teacher who proposes the new subject of a curriculum, as well as the approach of:
      • new specific competences/reference objectives – integrating
      • new contents – interdisciplinary. Novelty is defined in relation to the curricula from the Core Curriculum which are involved in the integration approach. 
  • Optional courses provided at national level
    • the national provision for School-Based Curriculum includes curricula which are approved by an Order of the Education Minister
    • the curricula provided as central offer are examples of good practices  for the development of School-Based Curriculum, relevant to the subject area and to the curricular area to which they belong to, or to an integrated approach across several curricular areas, and also socially.

The Framework Curricula and the subject curricula for lower secondary education  are developed by specialised national commissions under the scientific coordination of curriculum experts. The  commissions include teachers in school education and higher education teachers, inspectors and specialists whose professional activity is nationally acknowledged. Following public debates, the Framework Curricula and the subject curricula are approved by an Order of the Education Minister and become regulatory documents.

The subject curricula define, for each subject, their area of study indicated in the Framework Curriculum, and the goals pursued, and highlight the fundamental theoretical, experimental and applicative contents, providing general methodological guidance for their delivery and assessment. 

Teaching methods and materials

The  methods are selected so that they lead to the attainment of the goals proposed for an educational level, the attainment of the objectives proposed for each subject and, especially,  to meet the students’ age and individual characteristics.

Teachers are fully responsible for the choice of methods.  Teachers take into account the structure of theclass, the learning resources , the methodological guidance provided in the National Curriculum and the materials published for teachers.

An important number of publications have been made available to support teaching and learning:

  • publications for general or specific teacher training
  • methodological materials
  • teacher manuals, etc.

During lessons, the teacher is fully responsible for class management. Teachers choose independently how to organise the activities – with all the students in that class , in groups or individually – depending on the specific objectives of the lesson and the students’ level.

With regard to the teaching and learning methods, the following mentions of a general nature may be considered: methods based on oral communication, learning and exploration methods, interactive student-centred methods.

At the end of each lesson, teachers usually assign the homework for the next lesson.

 Homework involves solving exercises, writing essays or other activities chosen either from textbooks, or from other publications.

 In some cases students are  required to take some practical activities as homework – such as measurements, observations, small practical projects, etc. At the beginning of each lesson, teachers usually check how students did their homework and, if necessary, help students finish it. .

The Ministry of National Education recommends, in deciding the time allocated to homework, to take into account the students’ need to socialise and have various sport and recreational activities.

Textbooks are provided free of charge throughout compulsory education. The Law of National Education 1/2011, with its subsequent changes and additions, stipulates that only the textbooks that are approved by the Ministry of National Education may be used in the classroom. For most subjects taught in secondary education, there are three or more alternative textbooks approved by the Ministry of National Education for each grade. Depending on the students’ level, each teacher chooses and recommends the textbook for each subject at the beginning of the school year.  

Printed materials may be purchased by the library of the school or may be recommended by the teacher and purchased by the students.

The use of information and communication technology in the teaching-learning process has been strongly impelled by the computerisation of education.