Education Minister Funeriu underscores importance of education in EU’s 2020 Strategy

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Education has a fundamental part to play in the drawing up of the EU 2020 Strategy, and at the meeting on Monday of the European Council I pointed out that education is centre stage on Romania’s public agenda, both with the Government and with the President, Romanian Minister of Education, Research, Youth and Sports Daniel Petru Funeriu said on Monday in Brussels at the end of a meeting of the EU Council of ministers of education, youth and culture.

In relation to the contribution of the EU education ministers to defining the 2020 Strategy, Funeriu said that this is a highly significant matter, as Romania will discuss its new Education Law in the weeks to come.

‘I underscored the essential points we believe are highly important. First of all, there is the modernisation of the schooling cycles, and this is one of the main axes in the future Education Law Talks in the past days, which I will move to Romania’s Parliament, have sketched up some ideas, namely mandatory 10 years of formal education, which means general education, free up to the Baccalaureate.

The question that still remains is whether the 9th grade should be considered secondary school or high school. The reason for switching the 9th grade to the secondary school is to bring school closer to the pupils until the mandatory formal education is finished. This would be a sound measure, but we have to consider it very carefully,’ said Funeriu.

School management, said Funeriu, is another important pillar. ‘There is no highly performing system, not even the education system, that can run without very sound economic and financial foundations,’ he said. Focusing school curricula on generating skills and decentralising school curricula were included in a third set of issues tackled by the council meeting.

Curricular decentralisation should aim to make the composition of the curricula 20 percent dependent on schools individually and local communities, as well as 20 percent on teachers. ‘I think we should finally trust the professionalism of the teaching staff of Romania and also believe that the ministry should not regulate each moment of their classes. I believe this is a major option on which there is already consensus in Romania,’ Funeriu explained.

Another aspect mentioned by Funeriu that was also discussed by the council meeting was life¬long learning. In relation to university education, the Romanian minister said Adrian Nastase no longer runs for president of PSD
Chairman of the National Council of the main opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) (former Prime Minister) Adrian Nastase on Monday announced in a press statement that he no longer wants to run for president of PSD.that the top priority of his ministerial tenure should be to win back public trust in this kind of education. He insisted that Romania’s university centres should be modernised as they are the real focal points of the country’s education system.

Funeriu also pointed out that the Romanian scientific Diaspora is the largest source of well prepared and highly qualified teaching staff for the country. ‘I am glad to be able to say so in Brussels, because very many Romanian academics abroad are sometimes one step further ahead of their colleagues from the countries where they operate and I do not believe we can afford to ignore their existence ad infinitum, and we have to learn how to draw them back to Romania,’ said Funeriu.
He mentioned to the point having recently signed an order under which the recognition of university education teaching grades won elsewhere in the European Union is made easier, in an attempt to cut through the red tape universities face when recruiting such teaching staff.

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