Upper secondary education offers to students who completed compulsory education (students who completed lower secondary and the lower cycle of high-school, and students who completed vocational education respectively) the possibility to specialise in various fields - theoretical, vocational and aptitude-based.
The students who complete vocational/dual vocational education acquire knowledge, skills and competences mainly in connection with jobs, for professional qualifications at levels 3, 4 and 5, according to the National Qualification Framework. At the same time, the students who complete vocational education, including dual vocational education, may continue their studies in high-school education.
The educational profile of students who complete various levels of education is a regulatory component of the National Curriculum. This profile describes the expectations from students at the end of primary education, of compulsory education and of school education, in relation to: the requirements of the Law of National Education 1/2011, with its subsequent changes and completions, other educational policy documents and specific research; the goals of education; the students’ development characteristics.
According to Legea Educației Naționale 1/2011, , it is necessary that the entire teaching-learning-assessment process is directed by the formation of key competences.
The National Curriculum for primary and lower secondary education is focused on the development of key competences. The National Curriculum for high-school education is centred on the expansion and diversification of these competences. Starting from this requirement, the educational profile of a student who completes school education is structured based on 8 key competences:
- communication in the mother tongue
- communication in foreign languages
- mathematics skills and basic skills in sciences and technologies
- digital competence
- learning to learn
- social and civic skills
- initiative and entrepreneurship
- cultural awareness and expression.
For vocational education and technical and aptitude-based high-school education, the curriculum is centred on the acquisition of learning outcomes. The learning outcomes are expressed in terms of knowledge, skills and attitudes acquired in different learning situations and are defined depending on each specialisation or qualification. The learning outcomes are described through vocational training standards, which, in turn, are developed based on the occupational standards in force. In the curriculum for vocational and technical education and aptitude-based education, the key competences are integrated in the units of general and specialised technical competences.
The Framework Curricula for school education are developed for each level of education by the institutions and bodies authorised by the Ministry of Education according to the Methodology on the development and approval of school curriculum – framework curricula and subject curricula - Metodologia privind elaborarea şi aprobarea curriculumului şcolar – planuri cadru de învăţământ şi programe şcolare (approved by the Order of the Education Minister no. 3593/2014).
With regard to the specialisation of studies, the structure of upper secondary education is the following:
High-school (the lower cycle and the upper cycle) is organised along three routes - theoretical, technological and aptitude-based, which are further divided in profiles and specialisations:
- Theoretical route:
- Profile: Mathematics and Sciences, 2 specialisations (Mathematics-Computer Science; Natural Science).
- Profile: Languages and Social Sciences, 2 specialisations (Languages; Social Sciences).
- Technological route:
- Profile: Technical, 11 specialisations.
- Profile: Services, 3 specialisations.
- Profile: Natural Resources and Environment Protection, 5 specialisations.
- Aptitude-based route:
- Profile: Military, 3 specialisations.
- Profile: Theological, 10 specialisations.
- Profile: Sports, 54 specialisations (sport subjects).
- Profile: Arts, 5 specialisations.
- Profile: Pedagogical, 5 specialisations.
Education and training provided through vocational and technical education is delivered based on the vocational training standards approved by an Order of the National Education Minister. The standards are proposed by the National Centre for the Development of Vocational and Technical Education and developed following the consultation of social partners. The vocational training standards are defined based on the occupational standards approved by the National Authority for Qualifications. The vocational training standards are developed in consultation with the economic operators when there are no updated occupational standards.
Curriculum, subjects, number of hours
The content of education at secondary level is provided for in the National Curriculum, 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.
Institutions and bodies authorised by the Ministry of National Education develops the Framework Curricula and the curricula for obligatory subjects/areas of study in school education. They are approved by an Order of the Education Minister.
The Framework Curricula in 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.
The curricula for optional subjects/areas of study are developed at school level. Teacher Council, the Student Consultative Council, the parents’ association structure, as well as with the representatives of the local community are consulted. 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. Both the principle of equal opportunities and fairness, and the principle of relevance and decentralisation are observed
For each subject and area of study, the subject curriculum covers 75% of the classes/hours dedicated to teaching and assessment., 25 per cent of the time allocated to a subject/area of study is left at the teacher’s discretion. 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.
For high-school education, the theoretical and aptitude-based routes, the Framework Curricula have the following components:
- the Core Curriculum , as compulsory curricular provision, made of the same subjects, with the same allocation of hours, for all the specialisations of a profile.
- Differentiated Curriculum, as compulsory curricular provision determined at central level depending on the year of study, route, profile, and specialisation.
- the School-Based Curriculum , which covers the hours allocated for the development of the curricular provision specific to each school.
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.
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.
For high-school vocational education, the technological route, the Framework Curricula have the following components:
- Core Curriculum, as compulsory curricular provision, made of the same subjects/training modules, with the same allocation of hours, for all the qualifications of a field/profile.
- Differentiated Curriculum, as compulsory curricular provision determined at central level depending on the year of study, field/profile, and qualification.
- Locally-Developed Curriculum, which covers the hours allocated for the development of the curricular provision specific to each school. It is delivered in a partnership with economic operators so as to ensure the necessary framework for adapting students’ training to the demands of the local labour market.
The subject curriculum is a regulatory curricular document which contains the educational provision of a particular subject area or of a field of knowledge in accordance with its status in the Framework Curriculum.
The Framework Curricula and the subject curricula for upper secondary education are developed by specialised national commissions under the scientific coordination of curriculum experts. The specialised national commissions include teachers in school education and higher education teachers, inspectors and specialists. Following public debates, the Framework Curricula and the subject curricula are approved by an Order of the Education Minister. They become regulatory documents and are mandatory for the entire national education system.
When teaching is delivered in Romanian, the students belonging to the national minorities may study, upon request, the language and the literature of their mother tongue as a subject. It has the same number of hours and the same position in the Framework Curriculum as the subject Romanian language and literature.
When teaching is delivered in the national minority languages, the Framework Curriculum of the route, profile and specialisation/training field includes, in the curricular area Language and Communication, the language and the literature of the mother tongue as a subject. It has the same number of hours and the same position as the subject Romanian language and literature.
For the theoretical and aptitude-based routes, the Core Curriculum and the Differentiated Curriculum include all the hours allocated to all the school subjects that are obligatory for a specialisation.
Teaching methods and materials
The teaching and learning 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, to meet the students’ age and individual characteristics.
Teachers are fully responsible for the choice of methods. They take into account the structure of the class, the learning resources available in schools, the methodological guidance provided in the National Curriculum and the materials published for teachers.
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.
An individual teaching-learning programme may be organised only in the framework of after-school activities, and parents usually need to cover the costs involved.
With regard to the teaching and learning methods, the following general mentions may be considered: methods based on oral communication, learning and exploration methods based on discovery, interactive student-centred methods, practical training.
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 also 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.
The Education Law 1/2011, with its subsequent changes and completions, stipulates that only the textbooks and the additional books approved by the Ministry of National Education may be used in the classroom. 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 computerization of education.