Students protest in front of Gov’t headquarters, vent anger at education underfinancing

Several hundreds of Bucharest students, members of Romania’s National Alliance of Student Organizations (ANOSR), protested in front of the Government headquarters, unhappy with the meager funding earmarked for education.

They chanted slogans such as „Education saves the nation”, „Get ready, the students are near”, „Give education 6 percent of GDP”, and „No education — death for any nation.”

According to ANOSR representatives, after the protest in Victoria square (the location of the Gov’t headquarters) the students were headed for the Ministry of National Education.

The organizations affiliated to Romania’s National Alliance of Student Organizations announced on Monday that actions of protest would be staged on Wednesday in Bucharest, Timisoara, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, Constanta, Galati, Baia Mare, Sibiu, Suceava, Oradea, Alba Iulia. The main grievances of the students refer to the allocation of 6% of GDP for education and the growth of basic financing to universities to the level in force in 2008, a 30 percent increase of subsidies for housing and canteens, a 30% increase in the scholarships fund, real investments in counseling and career guidance centers.

„The students are outraged by the lack of responsibility whereby the Romanian government treats education, whilst this is defined as a national priority. The reasons for dissatisfaction include the fact that in the context of constant underfinancing of Romanian education, universities had to increase tuition fees, merge groups and faculties, reduce or — in certain cases — even stop investments aimed at improving the quality of the education system,” ANOSR said on Monday in a statement.

At the same time, ANOSR-member students „are outraged” by the fact that social scholarships are „two or three times lower than the law provides, and are „barely enough” to cover even half of room and board costs.

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