According to European Commission Country Report (2015), Romania experiences the highest economic growth in Europe and has been named a tiger economy. Romania offers the best IT specialists in Europe, according to technology giants such as IBM, Microsoft and Hewlett Packard.
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This essay will research the Romanian education paradox by exploring the ongoing change initiated in the field of education in the late 1990s. The analysis will overview the ways Romania deals with the education of children refugees from war zones such as Syria, what has influenced growth and progress in educational institutions, how quality assurance and control is implemented in education in Romania, what are the most recent changes and reforms and how the English language took ownership Romania, shifting it from a Francophone country with an art deco economy into a global delivery centre for major technology and IT corporations, with experts forecasting that English will soon become the 2nd native language in Romania. The purpose of the paper is to show the uneven nature of education management and identify the potential drawbacks associated with it.
Geographical associations and source of cultural background
I can account from personal experience that Romanian children are taught at school to hate Romania and to feel ashamed of their nationality because they have exposed to the negatives sides and the shortcoming of the education systems in primary schools where a higher percentage of staff, dissatisfied with their personal quality of life due to insufficient pay and /or poor teaching facilities, transmit this ‘It’s not worth it, living in Romania, please graduate and go abroad” negative message to the vulnerable and receptive minds of the students. Many Romanian teachers had themselves been inculcated by the Romanian media with what is known as the Romanian exodus push, which has been in effect in the past 10 years. The freedom of the press in terms of impartiality is almost non-existent; it is hard to find a truly honest news outlet that is not a scientific journal or a book about corruption in education.
The developments in Romanian educational management can be thought of largely as determined by the national culture, especially considering the characteristics of ideological and political components dominating the country’s culture in the recent half of the decade. Specifically, its education management decisions can be tied to the prevailing political doctrine and its ideological implications. For instance, education in the middle of the twentieth century was chiefly oriented towards centralising the system to sustain the equally centralised economy. Such approach visibly hampered the quality of education by depriving local authorities of autonomy and relocating all the decision-making power to higher authorities.
It is also worth mentioning that while the quality standards were significantly high and the level of control was rigorous during this period, it also is severely decreased the diversification of education by depriving the rural population of equal opportunities for admission. The trend continued throughout the second half of the century during the rule of Ceausescu. Most of the managerial decisions were driven by the nationwide demand for industrial growth and urban-centred development (Deca, 2015). The highly-centralised nature of education management was retained by the new government and was strengthened by strict and vertically-regulated funding policies. In practice, however, such ideologically-driven management led to the subsequent deterioration of the country’s integrity due to the wrongly allocated priorities and the lack of opportunities for adjustments and alternations of the existing directives.
It should be pointed out that the ideologically and politically driven curriculum is a fairly established phenomenon. Its influence can be observed in most countries regardless of the type of government. For instance, Lawton (1993) described the deterioration of the idea of the National Curriculum in England and Wales primarily as a result of the right-wing shift in the political agenda of the country. According to the article, the ideological premise can be traced in many details of the curriculum development process, including the evaluation process and the formation of parties responsible for the decision-making process (Lawton, 1993).
This insight allows us to reframe the current trend in Romanian education management as at least a partial result of the orientation towards European theatre. First, there is an observable counter-movement towards decentralisation of education management. Such a move gives greater flexibility to local authorities and makes it possible to introduce timely adjustments (Tooley, 1997). A similar development can be observed in many developed countries and is traditionally viewed as a significant component of school accountability (Marginson, 2016). Also, it aligns with the emerging trend of competition between schools which is expected to further boost the quality of education (Sherron & Kenny, 2017).
Finally, it actualises the already established decentralised leadership as one of the approaches to education management. It should be noted, however, that the trend of shifting management towards European standards and requirements results in a range of other policies and managerial decisions. For instance, there is a visible orientation towards the problem-solving perspective in approaching the notion of quality. While there is no definitive shift in policies, the data above supports this allegation. First, the benchmarks chosen by the ARACIP are consistent with those which characterise the problem-solving approach – school management, school development, teacher effectiveness, and school change, among others (Thrupp, 2001). The benchmarking of Romanian baccalaureate is also measured by the rate of successful graduation. Most important, however, is the reconsideration of the notions of quality inherent to the transformation currently in progress in Romanian education.
The implementation of quality assurance in education
In Romania, there are 2 separated organisations, one that inspects pre-university institutions (ARACIP) and one that is responsible for maintaining quality standards at university and postgraduate levels (ARACIS).
In the 2014 report of ARACIP, the organization is held accountable about all its activities, for 9 years and has to report truthfully on the state of affairs in vocational, professional and state schools.
We can observe the inspection activity and efficiency of ARACIP has decreased in 2013 and 2014, which may constitute proof that UNICEF Education sources are correct in regards to the fact that Romania cuts even more funding to education, in a time when other EU countries are doing quite the opposite and according to Bucharest Police date on the cases of bribery and corruption involving schools and Romanian inspection bodies, there were 332 cases of corruption where heads of schools avoided inspections to their school by paying an illegal fee to ARACIP inspectors. Nepotism is still a recruitment tactic employed by many human resource managers, especially at the high school level, where a newly qualified teacher with no personal or familial connections with the school decision-makers, will be set aside in the recruitment process despite their merits, in favour of a person who is either related or more agreeable to the director, according to a study on nepotism in secondary schools by the University of Bucharest.
However, if we consider the improvements to the graduation success at the Romanian Baccalaureate in 2015, with 67.9% of high-school students managing to obtain a qualifying grade, compared to 60.7% in 2014. Source: Ministry of Education in Bucharest, Romania
In the map below we can see the effects of management policies in bilingual areas as having a positive effect or negative effects on learning outcomes, throughout the Romanian national level.
The process of change in Romanian education management is still in its infancy and resulted in a fairly limited amount of positive changes. Considering the government-centred management of the previous decades, the shift can be described as both an external and internal change. The external change is a process initiated from the outside the system – in the case of Romania, the new government and respective changes in social perspective, funding strategies, and political affiliations. The internal change is the process triggered by the needs, values, and commitment of the direct participants of the educational process – most prominently, teachers, school administration, and, to a limited degree, students.
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One of the illustrative instances of external change is the attempt to improve school attendance through the incorporation of free meal initiatives.
A management initiative aimed at increasing pupils attendance at the gymnasium and primary level, modelled after European Union proposal on free school meals, was introduced in Romania in 2003 and was called ”Operatiunea Cornulsi Laptele” (Operation Milk & Croissant). The cultural context and the rising prices of milk and croissant producers lead to the failure of this initiative and an investigation by the Romanian Consumer Protection Agency, after a large number of complaints from parents, who had to face hospital bills and unrest due to the low quality of the products given to their children. It was discovered that the company that won the auction for providing the milk, did not use domestic sources but imported the milk from Bulgaria, and contained in unsanitary conditions, which causes hundreds of cases of child intoxication and food poisoning.7.767 kg of products were found inadequate, after a control raid in 2013, and the initiative was paralysed.
Romanian government invested over 500 million RON in the companies that provide their services and the products and there was never a centralised system to discover in detail the reason for the sub-standard quality of the products, though it was speculated that the financial investment was insufficient.
Furthermore, another initiative called ”Masa la scoala (The Meal at School)” was proposed as a new law in the Romanian parliament, that was going to replace the milk and the croissant in favour of a hot meal, a cold course and a dessert and raise the funds allocated per child from 1.17 RON to 10 RON. The law spent 2 years as a debate between headteachers, policy experts and financial bodies but was rejected in 2015, and little to no truthful explanation was given to the Romanian people.
It is worth mentioning that while the original funding source originated from the external sources, the reasons for failure can be tied to external influence in a similar manner. More specifically, the issues that are most often named as causes for the inadequate quality of supplied products – corruption, gaps in funding, and lack of responsibility throughout the supply chain – are consistent with inherent flaws of post-communist society associated with the deterioration of organisational productivity and efficiency (Spendzharova & Vachudova, 2012). It must also be pointed out that the lack of a centralized system cited as a complicating factor responsible for the inability to ensure the adequate quality of the supplied products should not be understood as a counterproductive effort in the light of decentralisation trend – rather, what is meant is a localised effort to control a specific initiative.
In addition to the external change driven by the sources of financing and organisational efforts aimed at increasing attendance, a major part of the reform originates from the Romanian Ministry of Education. Several attempts can be cited as directed at standardising education in the country. First, there exist a range of nationwide tests, with the tracking exam at the end of the eighth grade and the baccalaureate being two of the most recognised ones and several more being currently implemented throughout compulsory education.
Second, the national curriculum provided by the Ministry ensures the uniform and standardised teaching of several essential areas. It is worth noting that in contrast to a single-structure variety, the national curriculum of Romania is classified as common core, which means that certain space is left for adjustments at a local level. Third, a unified standard exists for teacher preparation, with two levels of initial training depending on the desired position and three stages of certification meant to sustain and confirm professional development (Stăiculescu & Păduraru, 2013). It is thus reasonable to identify the Ministry of Education as taking an active part in the improvement of quality of education in Romania.
Another prominent benchmark which can illustrate the success of the approach chosen by the national authorities is the steady improvement demonstrated in the area of foreign languages.
The management of teaching modern foreign languages in Romania
Language learning is seen as a priority in Romania. Learning a new European language such often starts in kindergarten and the first language acquisition processes start to be compulsory in primary school at age 7 and 8.
English is usually the most common language taught to up to 4th grade, and from the 5th grade, students must study French, German, Spanish or Italian, up to 8th grade. The 9th grade is considered the first year of high school, where students are expected to look forward to Baccalaureate exams in Romanian language and literature but are also encouraged to take up study in a more intellectually challenging foreign language, and this has generated a strong trend and appetite for the Japanese and Chinese cultures, Romanian youth are among the most numerous consumers of with imperialistic and historical subtext in Europe. According to EUROSTAT 2013 report, 72% of Romanian citizens speak at least 1 foreign language, and even if the transformation from a Francophone country into an Anglophone country happened faster than it was expected by the Romanian authorities, 51% of gymnasium students still choose it for Baccalaureate exams (EUROSTAT 2013).
Institut Francais de Roumanie, in Bucharest, is the main cultural connection that keeps the spark of French languages alive and informs and educated both adults and youth. The French government (through this institute) offers substantial scholarships for postgraduate research, in an attempt to attract the best Romanian talent. Gymnasium and university student frequently attend the French film festival and participate in the exchange of experience with French counterparts.
25% of Romanians can speak Spanish, according to Institute Miguel de Cervantes in Bucharest, in January 2016 and many Romanian Spanish speakers feel that learning Spanish in secondary school, has greatly helped their professional careers with the most notable example being Aurel Truta, Mayor of Paramo de Boedo, Spain, a Romanian national that managed to win the local elections and topple the local political party lists.
In the business consciousness, Romania may slowly become a threat to India because of a reliable level of proficiency in European Languages and some employers are moving away from the idea of outsourcing talent from India, with some European and American businesses being very appreciative also of the Romanian IT specialists. Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, IBM and Blue Byte all have a considerable number of Romanian employees with different computer specialists and are supporting Romania to become the Silicon Valley of Eastern Europe.
In 2015, this mentality showed signs of change, due to a large number of Romanian child or teenager inventors achieving success in difficult international competitions, but progress is still very slow, and the Ministry of Education does not show any interest in providing the much-needed support to young geniuses.
It should be acknowledged, however, that such success again serves a dual purpose. On the one hand, it helps improving international communications and provides means for the students to operate on a global scale, which is consistent with the relevant requirements. On the other hand, however, it opens up the possibilities for students to move to other countries, which currently remains a more attractive option for young and proficient workers. Thus, the achievement cannot be considered beneficial – at the current stage, it often serves as an advantage for the graduates who seek to move to other countries where their proficiency is valued and adequately compensated.
Unfortunately, there are also several inherent externally-determined flaws still present in the Romanian education system. For instance, the Romanian school system still includes behavioural management as an intrinsic component of education.
Secondary school directors are robbed of the possibility to adapt to the ever-changing educational needs of Romanian students, and they don’t have any freedom over the curriculum design and implementation, and often find themselves in the position of breaking current laws of education if they allow headteachers and specialist teacher to divagate from the top-down orders.
The Ministry of Education in Romania requires all didactic entities to recruit staff based on the numbers of publications and newly qualified teachers feel the pressure to publish, therefore complete chaos of didactical materials ensues, where each school has different rules and methods for learning management, pushing the cost of publishing its staff onto the parents who are often obligated to purchase useless.
Behaviour management policy in publicly funded schools
Romanian students are not only graded on their compulsory and selected modules. The report card/notebook always includes a grade for student behaviour not only during classes but on the recreational grounds and takes into account the amount of respect the student manifests towards the teachers and peers. This management practice was created to remove those students considered to be a misfit and a nuisance but in my opinion, it’s a leftover from the communist era where it was used to kill critical thinking.
A behaviour grade of 7 or less almost always warrants expulsion of the overly critical student and sometimes a petition is made to the Ministry of Education, where the student is named and made ‘’untouchable’’, which is a stigma that can be applied to that student for the rest of their academic life, and effectively banning that student’s access to education and banning all state schools on Romanian national territory from enrolling said students in any educational program.
The only way that a student with behaviour problems gets to keep their access to free, state school education is to demonstrate an exceptional talent for a STEM or linguistics subject/bilingualism and proven availability to change the contested behaviour.
Most of the time, the only chance at continuing education for behaviorally challenged students were to enrol in private schools, but not all parents can afford to pay the high costs of an academic year in an independent school, which can reach up to 7000 Euros, despite a modern initiative to give financial aid to private school, in the quantum of 2500 RON per student, according to Romanian Education Minister, Adrian Curaj. This initiative was highly contested by the free public schools’ stakeholders, which raises the issues about equality and fairness of competition and fears that private schools will benefit from 2 sources of funding, putting state schools at a disadvantage, because state schools receive 25000 RON per pupil as the main source of direct funding from the government.
The private schools’ stakeholders responded by attracting attention over the fact that Romanian law does not discriminate between students attending private or public schools, and that this financial help should have been given to private schools from the moment the law entered into force but only public, state schools were given the money. The private school directors voiced the opinion that this might count as discrimination between the 2 sectors and that this is a student right not a payment towards their school and students in the private education sector did not get their lawful entitlements, maybe because of the Romanian mentality and traditional perception of private schools being of lower quality and with pupils with a higher risk of a misdemeanour than those in free schools.
The risk of obtaining a low grade in behaviour was shared not only by students manifesting disruptive behaviours but also by those with too many unmotivated absences, which were often students from poor families, or children of farmers who were obligated to help their parents with housework or fieldwork. This has cut the wings of many brilliant students and perhaps even the flair and taste for meritocracy, because those students could not afford to fulfil their educational needs and were deprived of what the Western philosophy calls a true childhood, and forced to grow up so quickly and many in the rural areas are forced to become farmers, and may not remember if they ever had a childhood at all.
Romania used to have the highest school abandonment rates and highest student dissatisfaction, according to PISA country reports 2002 and 2010 but in recent years participatory rates have become better according to Institute of Education Sciences, 2013 and UNESCO report (UNESCO, 2015). In some rural areas, very large numbers of students are still at a high risk of dropping out of primary and secondary schools, in favour of working on corn plantations, and this sometimes also happens in cities like Satu Mare (Eco Ruralis, 2015).
One of the most evident outcomes of such a situation is growing gap inaccessibility to quality education across the population. While the impacted audience includes the students who display deviant behaviour, it can be further expanded to include the children from poor families who fail to comply with the standards for the reasons detailed above. Thus, while the behaviour management policy can be thought of as a faulty attempt of introducing an additional level of control of the population leftover from the communist government, it can also be viewed as a policy responsible for creating inequity of achievement among students. These conclusions are corroborated by the study by Causa and Chapuis (2011). According to the study, continental European countries show a high level of inequity observed in student achievement (Causa & Chapuis, 2011).
Importantly, the study also establishes a direct positive relationship between student achievement inequity and the level of socioeconomic inequality (Causa & Chapuis, 2011). These findings largely coincide with the situation observed in Romanian education, where certain students display astonishingly high results while others exhibit a critically low level of knowledge confirmed by the abysmal results of baccalaureate exams (Andersson, 2015). It is, therefore, possible to assert that the ongoing presence of obsolete values and policies instilled as a result of their dominance in Romania throughout the twentieth century create a strong negative impact on the opportunities for learners and require specific intervention. For instance, it is possible to speculate that the introduction of redistributive policies coupled with the concentrated effort on removing the existing behavioural management policies will create a more uniform result on the national scale. Until then, however, the observed situation continues to serve as an example of the crippling influence of obsolete social norms and rigid education management strategies driven by them on education.
Uneven nature of change
Despite the impressive progress made in some fields (e.g. foreign language teaching) it should be acknowledged that while certain isolated efforts are made to update the existing education system to match the European standards, they often either fail (as was demonstrated by the free meal initiatives above) or make a little observable impact on the overall quality of education. The most likely cause of both effects is the lack of integrity in approaching the issue, or, more specifically, the scarcity of funding to support the chosen directions. While the new national curriculum offers a solid basis for providing the students with necessary skills and knowledge relevant for the twenty-first century, the average result displayed by Romanian students is among the lowest in the region (Pasca & Pop, 2016).
In addition to the socioeconomic inequality detailed above, inadequate funding of school staff creates additional problems. Most commonly, the difference in salaries widens the gap in the quality of teaching between rural and urban areas as better prepared and proficient teachers seek employment in large cities, depriving children of study opportunities. The situation is further aggravated by the fact that the uniform teacher training procedure described above centres around a formalised course and does not provide the necessary amount of classroom experience to apply the obtained knowledge (Pasca & Pop, 2016). Next, despite the advantages provided to specialists in urban areas, the average teacher’s salary is still low enough to discourage some of the most promising individuals from entering the field, and the lack of support displayed by the government further disrupts the motivation and involvement of the staff. Finally, the overall economic and social state of the country has a detrimental effect on certain areas of education.
For example, children who live in the areas where no schools are available need to seek opportunities of attending school elsewhere, which often requires adequate means of transportation. Unfortunately, the Romanian public transportation system is still severely underequipped, and its functioning in rural areas is more often than not insufficient for steady attendance. Similarly to the situation described by Causa and Chapuis (2011), the members of economically disadvantaged families are first to face the adverse effects of uneven change management. In other words, the lack of consistency from the Romanian government and synchronisation of effort across the institutions responsible for facilitating change the progress in certain areas which show feasible improvement (e.g. formal enhancements, standardisation of goals and methods, and introduction of balance between national and local influence) is either diminished or cancelled by the lack of progress in other aspects (e.g. funding of relevant areas indirectly determining the success of planned change).
The internal change
As can be seen from the structure of the national curriculum, the local authorities are given a certain amount of freedom in adjusting the education process. This can be seen to the limited degree in the high school where students are allowed to choose curricula based on their preferences and later re-evaluate their choice and make necessary specialisation adjustments upon entering universities. Even more importantly, the national curriculum offers approximately one-fourth of the courses to be chosen by local authorities based on school specialisation and accepts alternative manuals for the selected courses from schools (PERFAR, 2014). Such an approach offers an opportunity to move away from rigid standards and diversify education following the demands created by social and cultural global background.
Also, it offers a viable possibility to address the issue of monopoly in the broadest sense by giving the stakeholders a way of avoiding indoctrination (Tooley, 1997). In other words, it allows ensuring that education becomes as close to the needs and desires of students as possible and minimises the opportunity for external parties to manipulate them (Tooley, 1997). However, it should be acknowledged that while positive effect of decentralising leads to the weakening of governmental agenda by creating a more performance-based focus, it may also result in the weakening of attainment and school success (Gleeson & Husbands, 2003). Since the latter is already a significant problem due to poor external management detailed above, its effects should be closely monitored to avoid further deterioration. Nevertheless, it should be acknowledged that the introduction of the possibility of internal change yields certain positive results.
Romania’s investment in education may rank the lowest compared to other European countries according to the researchers for UNICEF (2014) but despite this fact, Romanian students and teenagers consistently find themselves winning prestigious international science competitions.
Multiple teams of Romanian 11th graders, 12th graders and even 7th graders have won the Grand prize, First prize, second prize and also honourable mentions for 13 consecutive years, between 2003 and 2015.
The Romanian secondary/high-school institutions that produced these winners have implemented measures to include incentives for its staff and students that reward achievement in knowledge and originality, inventively creating a collaborative approach to teaching and learning that shuns the atomizing context of the high jungle style competition found in the other more micro-managed scholarly institutions in Romania.
Some of the teachers in the winning high-schools, for example, Colegiul ”Andrei Şaguna“, whose students won 7 NASA awards in 2014, have more freedom in lesson planning and more sympathy towards the needs of their students despite their meagre salaries. The average monthly salary for a teacher at in the pre-university sector does not exceed the equivalent of 270 British pounds for newly qualified teachers and the maximum monthly salary for a senior teacher with at least 30 years of teaching experience does not exceed the equivalent of 500 British pounds.
According to Oana Moraru, Education Expert and Consultant for Romanian Ministry of Education, in an interview for Romanian National News Digi24, on 2 February 2016, new management strategies and reforms are being panned out across Romania, in an attempt to simplify the curriculum and help students develop better critical thinking, a skill they have been deprived of since 1980. In 1980, today’s teachers were still in teacher training school where there have been taught to obey without question, therefore many nowadays still behave like obedient children, that many times feel they have no right to be critical of the government decisions but this despite these attitudes there are many that contest the current methods as remnants of the communist times and that leaning towards the Finnish model of education will improve Romania’s chances of economic growth.
Programs like ”Different School –Know more, Be better” projects have reoriented teachers and students towards interest-based extracurricular activities to improve the way students perceive their schooling experience and their satisfaction with the act of learning. The activities that are available through this national program are very diverse and focus on finding and developing academic talent, encouraging innovation and practical application of notions learned in the classroom, especially in the domains of science, arts, music and culture.
How these activities are delivered is presented to the students as life chances and rewards for personal development, many offering material gains and work experience through volunteering activities.
Opportunities to innovate and participate in international competitions for inventors are often offered to all students interested to participate in INNOVA competitions in Brussels, Belgium, wherein 2015 Romanian students and their science partners were awarded 23 gold and 8 silver medals for excellence in science, technology and medical inventions and 29 special mentions were also given to Romanian teams.
In the 2015 edition of the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics, Romanian teams won 3 silver medals, 6 bronze medals and 2 honourable mentions, placing Romania in the top 5 of all 41 nations that took part in the Olympiad.
The winners strongly advocated the Romanian Ministry of Education, their need for astrophysics to become compulsory in the gymnasium and that even younger children could benefit from being taught basic notions of astrophysics in kindergarten.
It should be acknowledged that the achievements of Romanian authorities are largely consistent with the notion of traditional quality and can be displayed in the form of measurable feasible results. On the other hand, at least some achievements and planned directions fall within the category of civic quality.
The Romanian Immigration inspectorate administration manages also other asylum seekers centres in medium-sized cities such as Galati, Radauti and Giurgiu and 2 major cities, Timisoara and the capital.
In the last 10-11 years, 12000 refugees found asylum in Romania and were provided with free education and subsidies by Romanian NGO’s and the government for housing, food, transport and other living costs. 4500 children and 350 unaccompanied minors arrived in Romania and were rescued by the NGO, which helped integrate them in the public school system and find new life chances and new hopes for their futures.
Children are found to be more easily adaptable and willing to help their parents and other adults learn Romanian, understand Romanian laws and mentality.
Romanian law gives asylum seekers the same right as Romanian citizens, a monthly financial aid of 550 RON, free access to Romanian language courses and sessions of cultural accommodation.
”Universitatea de Vest” University of Timisoara is offering free university places since 2015, for all asylum-seeking students that are victims of war in Romanian and European Culture and the possibility to learn a Romanian or another European language.
The described direction is consistent with the trend of viewing education management from a humanistic perspective rather than approaching it from a purely scientific standpoint, visible through the academic literature on the subject (Heck & Hallinger, 2005). Besides, this trend is an important component of shifting towards a society with contemporary values. According to Bottery (2002), the traditional quality in education needs to be accompanied and eventually superseded by civic quality in all its manifestations. For instance, the concept of expert quality requires the presence of authority which can formulate a standard that is to be adhered to (Bottery, 2002). Such setting can still be observed within the educator hiring policies, as can be seen from the information above. Naturally, in the case of Romania, it has a detrimental effect on the quality of education, primarily through introducing barriers to qualified specialists in their application for a job.
However, the effort to promote critical thinking outlined in the new set of management strategies is a necessary shift towards the civic quality which presumes the need for critically appraising the evidence of quality and relying on the independent party – broadly, the one which is not involved in benefitting from providing the service (Bottery, 2002). Such an approach becomes possible with the ability of the population to critically assess the existing information and, more importantly, operate the data outside the field of authoritarian pressure. Similarly, it can be expected that a respective shift is to occur in the area of teacher hiring. According to the definition by Bottery (2002), civic quality differentiates from its traditional counterpart in the sense that the former use standards in the context of exclusivity. On the other hand, the latter creates standards that apply equally throughout society. Simply put, given that the newly chosen direction is maintained, the next generation of citizens is expected to produce a more conscious stratum capable of critically appraising and analysing the information, which, by extension, will lead to the decline of the disruptive hiring practices.
Romania and its education management systems are ripe with contradictory paradoxes and while there is a combative magnetic wave to destroy the remnants and artefacts of the communist ideas and practices that have fossilized Romanian society into social and mental embargo, change is hard for current teachers and education inspectors that have grown in the totalitarian regime and been taught to be obedient and compliant and never question anything. The clash between the young generations that never knew the harsh reality of living in a dictatorship rebel against what they perceive as an attack against their humanity and identity and against their right to enjoy a good quality of life in Romania.
They resent the fact that they are being almost pushed out and encouraged to emigrate to other countries by the conditions and circumstances they have to endure, and most cannot and will not adapt to Romanian cultural norms, such as lack of a society based on meritocracy and respect for achievements alters the chance for Romanian children to develop a positive image and good self-esteem and also submitting to the giving of bribes to the doctors that have not yet emigrated, feels like act treason again their morality and personal progress. The corruption in the government structures, despite the arrests and manhunts of guilty politicians that do the traffic of influence, the Romanian students do not trust the political class with their future.
The effort by Romanian government directed at improving the national education system is evident. While its pace and scope are far from sufficient for a definitive result, there is a clear tendency towards improvement. The development in education management demonstrates both the external and internal capacity and produces impressive results that are recognised at an international level. Nevertheless, while the exceptional examples abound, the nationwide overall results remain inadequate and lag far behind the requirements posed by modern society.
The likely reason for this is the inability of the governing authorities to produce a consistent and uniform effort that would include all of the related fields. In other words, while individual initiatives and improvements can be identified that are consistent with the orientation towards the European standards, the overall picture is uneven and patchy. As was argued throughout the paper, the neglected areas can decrease the achievement of the successful ones and, in certain cases, create the situation when the effect is reversed, and the success serves a starting point for an eventual downfall. Therefore, a more encompassing approach needs to be sought to improve the situation and circumvent the existing limitations such as resource scarcity.
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