Prof. dr. doc. Alexandru-Vladimir Ciurea, Member A.O.Ș.R.
To both questions in the title – what will the school year and the university year look like? – the answer, until this
moment, is an unacceptable one: we don’t know! Coronavirus pandemic has already shaken the end of the school year
2019-2020, and it is clear that we need to “negotiate” a way of life with this virus. Therefore, one
One of the priorities on the authorities’ agenda should be the organisation of the new school and university year.
Any short-circuit in the education process will have serious effects in the future. Of course, it must start from
on two premises: the virus exists and school cannot be interrupted! From here on, every single
chapter, every aspect that determines the continuation of the learning process, but also compliance with the standards
The pandemic has not only produced a change in the way pupils or students meet teachers and
with the subject matter. The online component has become much larger than before, and from one point
This phenomenon has its advantages. Getting used to technology, equipping with computers,
laptops or tablets is a breakthrough that we have achieved in a relatively short time. Accommodation
may take longer, but is beneficial for both students and teachers. However, there are some
problems that cannot be solved online. Some have an educational dimension, others have a
strong social. Both prospects are still in an early draft stage, although the authorities
should by now have been resolved by law.
Little school kids can’t learn to draw sticks online!
They need a teacher or a teacher. I’m not just talking about the emotional mood of the early years of
school, but also to the fact that there are issues that cannot be resolved online. Therefore, the little ones must
go to school. But the health rules must be respected, so there can no longer be classes with 30
students. How to solve such a problem? If they come to school at different times, we have two other problems
husband. First: there are not enough teachers. No one can force teachers to work two shifts
consecutive. And while older students will learn online, younger students will be able to be divided into several classes.
But again we have the problem of the number of teachers. The second is the parents’ schedule. They go
to work in the morning and take their children to school. But if the children are going to go to school at lunchtime, who is staying with
them home by then and who’s taking them to school? The Ministry of Education is reportedly working on a proposal for a
law whereby one parent can stay at home but will be paid less, at 75% of salary. In
economic conditions are getting tougher, it’s hard to believe there will be parents who will give up a salary
What do we do with the children? How will the government, which has got tangled up in the purchase of masks… ?
In the same vein, we all know that school is compulsory, but what will happen to those parents
who will refuse, because of the danger of infection or transmission of infection in the family, to parents
or grandparents to take their kids to school? I find it hard to believe that any law can force these parents to
act against what they consider vital for their families.
On the other hand, if we are talking about online schooling, we have another big problem. Statistics
Official figures show that a third of pupils do not have laptops, tablets, smartphones (ultimately,
can also be used, although I do not recommend it at all as a doctor – from specific radiation to
at letter size, there are a lot of problems) or internet access. What do we do with these children?
How will the government, which has got tangled up in the purchase of masks for disadvantaged people (tender
has been challenged, according to Prime Minister Ludovic Orban), which has to find valid formulas of
early acquisition of these remote communication tools?
Similar problems are found in secondary and university education. Yes, it’s easier to work
online with high school students or college students than with lower grades. But there are a number of faculties –
including medicine! – who cannot move the entire learning process online. Practical part
study is compulsory. And this means direct access to courses and seminars and especially to
practical work. Equally true is the fact that older pupils and students can wear masks and
conform to the rules more easily than the little ones, who are much harder to control. But the problems remain.
I needed transparency like air.
We have exposed some of the problems that the coronavirus pandemic has raised in the area of education. May
there are others, which are related to the concrete management of the school, to disinfection, to the construction of
Plexiglas, etc. (Not “PEPSI-glass” as the Minister of Education recently said). Problems
many and for which policy makers should have already prepared solutions. It’s been a long time and already
we are late. So that there is no deficit in what we call the educational process,
The situation of the new school year needed to be debated at a broad level. Schools, teachers, parent associations, doctors
paediatricians, mayors, county inspectorates and ministry officials should have held a dialogue
permanent and open to all. I needed transparency like air. We needed to know how they
solved this kind of problem in other countries.
As a university professor and PhD supervisor, I can say that the way the authorities work
central is deficient. You can’t set directions and measures in this sensitive area in a closed circle.
You can’t just announce, from time to time, that you are “assessing and analysing” somewhere in an ivory tower, as if
you would be the holder of absolute truth. Unfortunately, as the economy and agriculture suffer, so will
this vital area for our future: education. But to understand the complexity of this issue,
you must have the book yourself.
Any mistake, any hesitation can cost more than a school year. A cost as much as a generation!
Unfortunately, the political class of the last 30 years has been too little devoted to study and education. People
with minor resumes are in decision-making positions and don’t know what to do. If we miss the school year, we’ll put in
danger to these young people and children. We will condemn them to remain mediocre at best and put them in
situation of admiring the very people who are now illiterate TV stars for the transgressions
committed. This is not what we want for them, this is not what we want for Romania. Only through education
we’ll be able to get out of the great exercise of admiring gangsters, luxury cars
obtained through who knows what so-called “combinations”. Only through education do we have a future! That’s why I’m making a
appeal to Romanian school leaders and administrators of all kinds and levels to
to get involved with all their energy in order not to allow the degradation of Romanian education. Any mistake, any
wrong order, or any hesitation can cost more than a school year. A cost as much as a generation!