Romania’s Education Minister says there is no way to cancel national exams

Romanian minister of education Monica Anisie says canceling national exams is not even a theoretical option. His reaction comes after a newly created “student movement” asked authorities to consider canceling the baccalaureate and national assessment this year due to COVID-19 security risks.

“We are not even theoretically considering the option of canceling the exams, because there was never any intention to freeze the school year,” the education minister told the local portal of the education

“At the moment there is no reason to think of such a thing. The Ministry of Education has prepared, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the specific procedures for the prevention and control of diseases, on the basis of the joint decree already issued,” she added.

“Departmental school inspectorates and the management of educational units are preparing for the reopening of schools (for eighth and final year students who must prepare for national exams – en). The inspectorates are collaborating with the public health directorates so that each l “educational unit has medical personnel who will provide supervision and epidemiological triage. Many schools are already prepared and have taken the necessary measures,” explained Monica Anisie. The Ministry of Education will distribute face masks to local schools , which will be offered to students who go to school to prepare for exams.

There has been some pressure in Romania to cancel national exams this year due to COVID-19 infection risks. The Student Movement of Romania, a recently founded organization, has called on the government to cancel the exams. The movement suggested that the baccalaureate score this year could be replaced by the average mark of the last four school years. Some parents’ organizations and TV channels supported their initiative.

However, more representative organizations, such as the National Council of Students of Romania, the National Alliance of Student Organizations, the National Federation of Parents’ Associations and two large teachers’ unions (Spiru Haret and Alma Mater), as well as the NGO Save the Children, want the national exams to take place.

“In a pre-university education system where the assessment process is not unitary and where there are gaps not only between teaching units but even between classes within the same school, the averages obtained over the years cannot replace the Baccalaureate and the National Evaluation”, argued these organizations.

“The cancellation of the Baccalaureate exam is an unprecedented measure which would consist in issuing Baccalaureate diplomas to all students, baccalaureate holders, with a general average higher than 6 for the high school years. This measure would discriminate against all holders of a Baccalaureate. who took this exam between 2011 and 2019,” the organizations also said.

Former education minister Daniel Funeriu says the pressure to cancel the baccalaureate exam this year is coming from private universities who hope to enroll tens of thousands of students who have not passed the exam since 2011. Funeriu introduced video surveillance for the baccalaureate exam in 2011, which led to a significant drop in the percentage of students passing the exam.

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(Photo credit: Inquam Photos/Octav Ganea)

Helen D. Jessen