Romania ponders parent education courses

Every parent in Romania could attend parental education courses once their children enter a new school cycle, according to a project of the Education Ministry presented by Titled The National Strategy for Parental Education, the project is under public debate until July 10.

The strategy proposes that parental education be added to the job descriptions of professors, nurses and social workers, with two hours allotted to it weekly.

“Supporting the formation and development of parental competences is one of the missions the state needs to undertake if we wish that the education of children and youth become a coherent, efficient action, that offers equal opportunities to all,” the ministry argues.

As part of the same effort, the profession of parental educator would be included in the occupations list in Romania. A central authority in charge with monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the parental education system would be set up. At the same time, a national network of parental educators would be established, starting from a UNICEF proposal that each county and district of the capital should have four parental education trainers.

The strategy foresees a budget of RON 295 million (EUR 63 million) in the first year of the project for the 2.5 million parents taking the courses. Beginning with the second year, an average of 150,000 parents are expected to attend the courses.

The same strategy identifies several current problems of the Romanian society, such as the high infant mortality rate, the high risk of poverty for children, the poor preparation of parents on child rearing topics, a high family abandonment rate, teenage pregnancies, the phenomenon of children left behind by parents who go to work abroad and the sub-optimal vaccination rates.

The infant mortality rate in the country stood at 6.9% in 2016, according to data from the National Statistics Institute (INS) quoted in the strategy. It is the highest in the EU.

The poverty rate for children in rural areas is almost four time higher compared to that in the urban environment, of 12.4% compared to 3.5% in 2010. A high rate of abandoned children adds to this. The document shows 1,653 newborns were abandoned in maternities in 2013 and in 2014. At the same time, in June 2015 a total of 81,581 children had parents who had left for work abroad.

The document also mentions the high number of abused, neglected or exploited children. It references a UNICEF 2015 survey that showed that in Romania, when a child makes a mistake, the first reaction of 54% of parents is to raise their voice, while 11% of parents slap the children or pull them by the hair.

The document is available in Romanian here.

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