Romanian president appoints adviser as education minister – too little, too late

In an attempt to salvage his flagship “Educated Romania” project, President Klaus Iohannis launched a vibrant plea for academic integrity and zero tolerance of plagiarism, appointing his adviser Ligia Deca as the new education minister.

Deca (40) thus replaces Sorin Cimpeanu, who resigned last week after protracted civil society protests that actually began before his appointment in 2020.

After seven years of university and higher education in the fields of navigation and port management (2001-2008), Ligia Deca embarked in 2008 on a career within the European bureaucracy as a student representative of the Bologna process. Navigating and climbing the European authorities, she worked in parallel from 2012 to 2016 on her doctoral thesis on the theme of the internationalization of education in Romania and Portugal.

The NGO Romanian Academic Society (SAR), which incidentally gave Deca impetus at the start of her career in 2008, asked Minister Deca to publish her doctoral thesis on the ministry’s website – which she will likely do to demonstrate academic integrity.

This would have been enough two years ago, but today it is no longer the case: journalists have learned to read between the lines of a European CV, and the expectations of civil society for the status of Minister of education surged when former minister Cimpeanu resigned.

“Can someone who has not taught at least an hour in a classroom be Minister of Education? How can a ship’s engineer manage the Ministry of Education? – Ziarul Financiar wondered after concluding a few days earlier that the president’s (and Deca’s) strategy for an educated Romania is being criticized “by everyone who knows what education is, from university professors to primary school teachers”.

But not by Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca (himself holder of a doctorate and suspected of plagiarism).

“Today at the meeting of the National Political Bureau, I proposed that Ligia Deca be the Liberals’ proposal for the post of Minister of Education. She is a person who has worked and participated in the process of development of education laws and is able to continue and meet the timetable for debate and approval so that by the end of October it will be sent to Parliament for debate [and endorsement]”, Prime Minister Ciuca said.

The appointment was deemed appropriate by President Iohannis.

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(Photo source: Presidency.ro)

Helen D. Jessen