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Romania

Overview

Romania, a country slightly smaller than Oregon, is located in Southeastern Europe. The population (est. 2004) is 22,355,551 and includes the following ethnic groups: Romanian, 89.5 percent; Hungarian, 6.6 percent; Roma, 2.5 percent; Ukrainian, .3 percent; German, .3 percent; Russian, .2 percent; and Turkish, .2 percent. It should be noted that the Roma (sometimes referred to by the derogatory term Gypsies) have experienced racial discrimination for many years. The government, including the education sector, has been working toward wider access to education and other services for the Roma and other disadvantaged groups.

The literacy rate in Romania is 98.4 percent. Romanian is the official language of Romania. Although surrounded by Slavic nations, Romanian is a Romance language, based on Latin. Hungarian and German are also widely spoken.

The Romans controlled the region that is now Romania for over 150 years. Over a period of many years a series of conquering tribes ruled over particular territories, leading to the distinct identities of today's regions (including Walachia, Moldavia and Transylvania).

In 1916 Romania entered World War I on the side of the Allies. Soon afterwards, the Central powers took control, resulting in the loss of land to parts of Bulgaria, Austria and Hungary. After rejoining the Allied forces and sorting out shifting borders after the war's end, Romania held twice the land area and population. With the onset of World War II, a substantial portion of land was lost to the Soviet Union, Hungary and Bulgaria. Joining the war on the side of Germany did not result in the return of the land as hoped. After moving over to the side of the Allies, the Soviet Red Army eventually took control of Romania, marking the beginning of communist control.

Soviet control influenced all sectors of the country, including education, business, politics, health care, economics and foreign policy. Over time opposition to Soviet rule led to the desire for national communism and more independence. Although Romania benefited by an increase in international trading, corruption and power at the hands of Nicolae Ceausecu, the country's leader, caused great unrest among the people of Romania. In 1989 the year of his execution at the hands of the National Salvation Front, sweeping changes came to Romania. A democratic government emerged, as well as a new system of education, rights and freedoms for ethnic minorities and a national foreign policy to benefit Romanian citizens. Granted EU membership in 2007, Romania has also been working toward building its international reputation.

Education

The following information is based on the evolution of the educational system from the time of Soviet influence until the present. The reform process had a rapid start in 1989. Changes in the economic structure had a marked effect on education in Romania. The previous model of central planning changed to accommodate the market economy. Increasing numbers of students have chosen programs in economics and business. There has also been a dramatic increase in the number of newly established institutions, leading to issues with quality assurance and accreditation. These changes, as well as significant changes in the administration and budgeting of education as a whole, have created several challenges and limitations that will continue for some time.

The academic year runs from October through June. Education is compulsory through grade ten (as recently as 2003, compulsory education was through grade eight). All education at the pre-university level is free and a number of subsidized places at the university level are free as well. Currenty, the Ministerul Educației Naționale supervises the education system.

Primary and Secondary Education

Primary education is four years in length. Students usually start school at the age of seven. Secondary education is available in different types of programs, academic and vocational/technical.

General academic programs are divided into two stages: lower secondary (four years in length) plus upper secondary (four to five years in length). Vocational/technical programs are also divided into two stages: lower secondary (four years in length) plus upper secondary (two to five years in length).

Post-Secondary Education

The following information is based on the pre-Bologna structure. The evaluation of Romanian credentials will require a knowledge of the older system as well as the newer system, since documents from both systems will be submitted from students for the foreseeable future.

First Cycle

The first stage of postsecondary education is offered at public and private institutions. Institution types include academies, colleges, institutes, polytechnics and universities. It is advisable to check institutional web sites to verify program lengths. Typically there are short-cycle postsecondary programs and long-cycle postsecondary programs.

The duration of programs offered at colleges is three years in length. Programs offered at academies, institutes and universities are typically four to six years in length.

Second Cycle

Postgraduate (second stage) education is usually one to two years in length and offered at universities. Students can choose to complete either a one to two year master's program (sometimes called advanced studies program) or a specialist program (program lengths vary, depending on the field of study, but are at least one year in length).

Third Cycle

Doctoral level (third stage) programs are offered through universities or scientific research institutions. These programs are usually at least three years in length.


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