A Bucharest event organized on Facebook for September 19 collected books for schools that no longer have a library and asked for the resignation of Education Minister Liviu Pop.
The organizers of the event say this is needed because of recent developments, such as the school textbooks change or the “serious professional background issues” of the minister. The organizers asked education unions and parents associations to join the event, which is ongoing throughout Tuesday in Piata Victoriei.
The Education Ministry wanted to change the textbooks used in the previous years and introduce new ones, but hasn’t managed to complete the public tenders to acquire the new school books. Students thus started the school without any books. The Ministry drafted a 300-page compendium for all classes, including Romanian, Mathematics or History, which has to be used in the following period. At the same time, the Education Ministry has sent a note to school inspectorates across the country forbidding the use of auxiliary textbooks that haven’t been approved by the state.
“The purpose of this action is to get people in government to value knowledge, and no longer have imposture, complicity and cowardice govern the education system,” the organizers said.
Every participant could bring a book and all the collected ones will be donated to “schools where underfinancing brought them to the situation of not having a library where children can find everything they need.”
An education motion was introduced in the Senate by the two opposition parties: the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Save Romanian Union (USR). The Senate rejected to motion on September 18, with 86 votes against, 41 in favor, and 9 abstentions, News.ro reported.
The motion criticized the state of the Romanian education system and also asked for the resignation of minister Pop. Some of the issues outlined in the motion include: the lack of Math and Romanian textbooks for the 5th grade, where children receive however a Physical Education textbook; the disconnect between the Education Ministry and the requirements of the business environment; the high rate of school leavers and the lack of measures to prevent the phenomenon; schools functioning without authorizations; a politicized education system, or the lack of investment for modernizing the teaching process in universities, among others.
Minister Pop was present in the Senate at the debates on the motion and argued that mistakes and errors are made in life. Mistakes can be corrected, errors no, the minister said.
“I received numerous reproaches over the past months, since taking over the leadership of this minister. Many of them were personal ones, related to how I write, how I speak. I will not attempt to declare myself not guilty. In life, as in politics, there are mistakes, there are errors. What is essential is the fact that mistakes can be corrected, errors not,” Pop said, quoted by News.ro.
“I admit the criticism related to mistakes. I try to do what is in my power to correct them but I think it is essential to avoid errors that lead to collective and persistent effects in time. This is why I am telling you that until we can guarantee a quality content we will not hand over anything anytime to students,” the minister explained.