Education in Romania: more dropouts than graduates, looming teacher shortage
Nearly 60% of those who entered the Romanian education system in 2010 did not manage to complete the 12-year primary and secondary education cycle. An incoming shortage of teachers may yet worsen the situation, as more than half of those currently active are set to retire in 10-15 years.
Some 216,000 children were born in Romania in 2004, according to the National Institute for Statistics (INS). By 2010, nearly 204,000 were enrolled in the first grade of elementary school, says Romania’s Ministry of Education. Twelve years later, only 84,000 managed to graduate high school by passing the Baccalaureate exam. The rest, over 111,000 – 58,4% – had dropped out of school earlier, immigrated, or were held back.
The current “number of those enrolled in the Baccalaureate is the lowest in the democratic history of Romania,” said minister of education Sorin Cîmpeanu, quoted by Edupedu.ro.
The number of graduates already tells the story of a bankrupt educational system, but another crisis looms over Romanian schools – a shortage of teachers.
Currently, fewer than one in ten primary school teachers are under 30 years old, according to Eurostat data cited by Economedia. Conversely, more than half are over 50, making their retirement in 10-15 years’ time inevitable. The same situation can be observed in middle school and high school, indicating an incoming shortage of teachers in Romania.
Overall, out of the over 208,000 teachers in the pre-tertiary education system in Romania, only around 19,000 – or 9% – are between 18 and 30 years old, according to a FRAMES report.
The shortage will hit some counties harder than others. On average, the oldest teachers were in Teleorman, Gorj, and Caraș-Severin, while Sibiu, Cluj, Giurgu, and Bucharest had the highest share of young teachers.
The education system is not the only one expected to go through a personnel shortage. Over 1,9 million Romanians – the so-called “decreței,” or children of the decree, people who were born after the 1967 decree banning abortion and contraception, which resulted in a spike in births – are expected to retire in the next 10-15 years, leaving behind far too few younger workers than necessary to cover the demand.
“Unfortunately, too few young people are coming to replace the workforce in most economic sectors. In the industrial sector, in construction, or agriculture we will most likely bring workers from Asia, in terms of education, the problem will be a really sensitive one. In that case, there will be virtually no one to teach our children,” said Frames manager Adrian Negrescu.
Despite Government’s promises, wages in the sector remain unattractive. The lowest wage in pre-tertiary education is RON 2,647 (EUR 535), and the highest is RON 4,709 (EUR 952).
Meanwhile, the number of students is on the rise. For the first time since 2014, INS registered an increase of 1,200 in student enrollments relative to the previous year, totaling 3,495,800 students currently in Romania.