Romania's education minister says there's no way national exams will be canceled
Romania's education minister Monica Anisie says that canceling the national examinations is not even a theoretical option. Her reaction comes after a newly established "students' movement" has asked the authorities to consider canceling the Baccalaureate and National Evaluation this year due to safety risks related to COVID-19.
"We don't consider even theoretically the option to cancel the exams, as there has never existed an intention to freeze the school year," the education minister told local education portal Educatieprivata.ro.
"At the moment, there is no reason to think about such a thing. The Education Ministry has been preparing, together with the Health Ministry, the specific procedures for preventing and combating diseases, based on the joint order already issued," she added.
"The County School Inspectorates and the management of the educational units are preparing for reopening the schools (for eighth- and twelfth-grade students who need to prepare for the national exams – e.n.). The inspectorates collaborate with the Public Health Directorates so that each educational unit has a medical staff that will ensure the supervision and epidemiological triage. Many schools are already prepared and have taken the necessary steps," Monica Anisie explained. The Education Ministry will distribute face masks to local schools, which will be offered to the students who go to school to prepare for the exams.
There has been some pressure in Romania for canceling the national exams this year due to COVID-19 infection risks. The Students' Movement in Romania, an organization founded recently, has asked the Government to cancel the exams. The movement suggested that the Baccalaureate score this year could be replaced with the average grade of the last four school years. Some parent organizations and TV stations have been supporting their initiative.
However, more representative organizations, such as the National Council of Students in Romania, the National Alliance of Student Organizations, the National Federation of Parent Associations, and two large teacher unions (Spiru Haret and Alma Mater), together with Save the Children NGO, want the national examinations to take place.
"In a pre-university education system in which the evaluation process is not a unitary one, and there are discrepancies not only between the educational units but even between classes within the same school, the averages obtained over the years cannot replace the Baccalaureate and National Evaluation," these organizations have argued.
"Cancelling the Baccalaureate exam is an unprecedented measure that would involve awarding Baccalaureate diplomas to all students, high school graduates, who have a general average score of over 6 for the high school years. This measure would be discriminatory against all holders of a Baccalaureate degree who took this exam between 2011 and 2019," the organizations also said.
Former education minister Daniel Funeriu claims that the pressure to cancel the Baccalaureate exam this year comes from private universities that hope to enroll tens of thousands of students who have failed to pass the exam since 2011. Funeriu introduced video surveillance for the Baccalaureate exam in 2011, which has led to a significant drop in the percentage of students passing the exam.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos/Octav Ganea)