Everything about the scholarships that students will receive in the fall

The granting of the merit scholarship, which is currently received even by students with averages below grade 4, will finally be regulated. It is the announcement made by the Minister of Education, Ligia Deca, in an attempt to correct perhaps one of the biggest anomalies of the Romanian education system. In addition, the minister announces the awarding of a new scholarship: the resilience scholarship, which would transform mediocrity into excellence

Merit scholarships have regained their lost prestige. Photo source: archive

According to the new Education Law, currently, the first 30% of the students of each class, in descending order of the annual averages or the averages from the National Assessment – if we refer to the ninth grade students, benefit from the merit scholarship.

This is how we are dealing with absolutely aberrant situations when children with annual averages of 2, 3 or 4 are awarded for special merits just like those with grades 9 and 10. Practically, the merit scholarship has fallen into derision. It's only on paper. In reality, there is no longer any difference between a very good student and one with correct grades.

Minister Deca is now trying to fix this blunder, which caused outrage last year. Specifically, according to a draft Emergency Ordinance to be put up for public debate, the merit scholarship will be awarded to students with an annual average above 9.50. As for the amount of money, it will remain unchanged: 450 lei per month. “For 5th grade students, the average of the first two learning intervals of the current school year will be taken into account, and for 9th grade students, the high school admission average will be taken into account“, stated the Minister of Education in a press conference.

The new merit scholarships will be awarded starting next school year. Until then, however, more than 8,500 students with low and very low averages, i.e. with grades of 1, 2, 3 and 4, will continue to be awarded, month after month, for non-value.

What scholarships do students receive?

Currently, students can benefit from the Olympic scholarship of excellence I and II, merit scholarship, social scholarship, technological scholarship and scholarship for the school participation of minor mothers.

According to the minister, the excellence scholarship, the merit scholarship, the resilience scholarship and the technological scholarship are awarded only to those who have obtained an average of 10 in performance or have the FB qualification at the end of the previous school year. And if the students accumulate 10 or more unexcused absences in a month, they do not receive any money for that month. “In addition, we have explicitly provided that in the situation where students accumulate 10 or more unexcused absences in a month, they do not receive the excellence scholarship, the resilience scholarship, the doctor's scholarship, the social scholarship, respectively the technological scholarship, as the case may be, for the month THAT“, Ligia Deca also specified.

The Minister of Education also brought news in the case of the social scholarship granted to students from the “Second Chance” program. “Pin order to support school participation and completion of studies, we increased from 18 to 30 the age limit for granting social grants for students from the “Second Chance” program or for forms of education with reduced frequency, not employed on the labor market”Deca also specified.

Regarding the amounts of money that the students will receive, the merit scholarship is 450 lei per month, and the resilience, social and technological scholarships are 300 lei per month each.

About the Resilience Scholarship

Minister Ligia Deca announced the granting of a new type of scholarship: the resilience scholarship. The purpose of this scholarship is to “to motivate even students who currently have average results to progress. It is a form of stimulating individual progress in learning“, explained the minister. The amount of the resilience scholarship will be 300 lei per month, and this money will be awarded to students who obtained at least the annual average of 7 and are among the first 30% of students in the class in terms of academic results. “The resilience scholarship will also benefit students with oncological or chronic conditions, schooled for a period of more than 4 weeks in the so-called hospital school or at home. This is a new category of beneficiaries, now introduced to both the resilience grant and the social grant. Regarding the resilience scholarship, for 5th grade students the average of the first two learning intervals of the current school year will be taken into account, and for 9th grade students the admission average at high school“, Ligia Deca also specified.

Education policy expert Marian Staș is of the opinion that Education officials “put the huge problem of socio-economic disparities under the rug, only come with rags here and there and knowingly avoid the real problem”. “It's like in Ceaușescu's time, you give him 5 lei, 100 lei, just like back then“.

According to the expert, in the current Education system everything comes down to money, not to a real attempt to save education. “If we will see any positive impact? The answer is, rather, no. This problem with the school being pulled into the “School for money” laneI find it extremely out of place, especially when it comes to fairly large percentages. In my opinion, it is a poisonous job because it links the school to money. And that has nothing to look for in a public education system. It's conditioning exactly on Pavlov's principle. If that means students will learn better? I think there will be, in fact, a rush for the averagesi”, says the expert.

Let's give them a salary for learning well

For his part, the academician Mircea Dumitru, the former rector of the University of Bucharest, explained to “Adevărul” that scholarships, generally speaking, should be awarded to pupils and students with very good academic results and who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. “Let's take the children with high and very high grades, for example. Rather, it is based on the principle that we must pay them, give them a salary because they learned well. And they don't study for their training, for life, but to get some money. That's my opinion, not at all popular. If we think about children in grades 6-7, many may want to learn, but do not have the conditions to do so. And then, yes, they should be financially supported by the stat”.

The academic recalls the American model: “I know experiences from other countries where no scholarships are given at all or only scholarships are given. By no means for high marks. In the United States, for example, you won't see students who get scholarships because they only have A grades. They get a social aid package if they are very deserving and their parents can't financially support them in school.”