OECD recommendations for the recovery of the Romanian education system

Romania must radically change, at a strategic level, the way in which education policies are financed and evaluated, this in the context where the school performance of students is among the lowest in the European Union.

Romanian students, the least prepared in the entire European Union. Photo source: archive

This is one of the conclusions of a European report entitled “Reform of pre-university education in Romania: strengthening governance, evaluation and support systems” presented by the General Directorate for Supporting Structural Reforms of the European Commission, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Ministry of Education.

Deficient education policies and very poorly prepared students

“At a strategic level, Romania must radically change the way in which education policies are financed and evaluated. In this sense, planning and budgeting at a strategic level is needed to correlate resources with long-term priorities. There is also a need for much more extensive analytical capacities to monitor and evaluate the implementation and results of public policies, as well as to hold the institutions involved accountable”, it is emphasized in the report, according to Agerpres.

According to the document, a large part of Romanian students do not have basic skills, school dropout rates are high, and the disparities between pre-university education units in the rural environment and those in the urban environment are increasing, the report also indicates. “Therefore, the measures introduced by the new law are important to provide quality education to all students and to support and make the country's economic growth more inclusive,” the report also says.

The document makes recommendations to the Ministry of Education regarding the implementation of the reforms adopted last year through the new pre-university education law, which may be important for the elaboration of secondary legislation and which should transform the system into an efficient and fair one.

“The recommendations formulated by OECD experts will be on the table of the teams that will work on the elaboration of secondary legislation in the field of pre-university education. They will support the activity of specialists from the Ministry of Education and experts co-opted by sector, in order to be able to propose the best legislative solutions”. Minister Ligia Deca stated in a press release.

The document proposes a perspective that explores four essential areas of educational policies: the evaluation and support of educational units, the allocation of resources for education, the teaching career and the data system and their monitoring. Each field is analyzed to provide a plan for implementing the proposed reforms effectively, the Ministry of Education explained.

“Romania is undertaking an ambitious transformation of its educational system. I am convinced that this report will help the country transform the teaching career into a highly qualified and attractive profession, strengthening the educational management of schools and ensuring the allocation and strategic use of educational resources”said Andreas Schleicher, OECD director for Education and Skills, quoted in the press release.

18 recommendations for the recovery of the Romanian education system

Restructuring of assessment and assistance duties of pre-university education units:

1. Further development of the evaluation framework for pre-university education units, so that it highlights national priorities and is more useful for evaluators, county school authorities and education units.

2. Formation of a body of permanently employed evaluators to work with external experts and ensure the quality of the evaluations.

3. Development of strong and active links between ARACIIP, county quality assistance teams and the Ministry of Education

4. Reviewing how evaluations are programmed and funded and removing overlaps and conflicts of interest that still exist

5. Clarification of the assistance model for pre-university education units at the county level and the development of a national ecosystem of resources

Effective use of increased budgets in education:

6. Strengthening the capacity to apply a more strategic approach to budgeting so that spending growth supports long-term objectives.

7. Revising the organization of the school network and administrative processes in schools for a more efficient use of public funds.

8. Review of funding and support mechanisms for schools to contribute to the promotion of political priorities

9. Defining protocols to identify schools and students with more needs and to provide them with appropriate support

Transforming the teaching profession into one with a high level of qualification and professional satisfaction

10. Completion of new teacher competency standards and use them to clarify expectations for different stages and roles in the teaching career.

11. Revision of the teacher pay system to strengthen the link between performance and reward and to improve transparency.

12. Reviewing the planned reforms in the field of certification and evaluation for the promotion of teaching staff, so that they focus more on teaching practice

13. Establishing the methodology for the transition of teaching staff on the new career paths and the management of performance and progress during the career

14. Consolidation and expansion of the national mentoring system for teachers

15. Developing a more systemic approach to embedding a culture of teacher-led professional learning in schools

Creating a robust monitoring system for accountability and results:

16. Establishing SIMS as the official source of education data at national level and planning for its long-term sustainability

17. Ensuring the design and use of national assessments according to their purpose and clarifying their implementation plans

18. Continue to develop the monitoring and evaluation system by identifying key performance indicators, improving reporting practices and investing in staff capacity.