The new status of the student: from shared entrances with teachers to fewer hours and lighter backpacks. What the Education experts say

The student associations have submitted to the Ministry of Education a draft Statute in which they demand more rights. Children complain, among other things, that they have a lot of hours at school, they are given a lot of homework, they don't have time to rest or relax. It also requests the abolition of separate entrances for students and teachers in the buildings where educational units operate, considering that there cannot be any kind of discrimination between students and the staff of the educational unit.

The new status of the student, submitted to the Ministry of Education – PHOTO Inquam Photos

The students ask that the weight of the schoolbags not exceed 10% of the child's weight, and the homework, cumulatively, not occupy more than one hour of the primary school student's time, respectively two hours for the middle school or high school student. At the same time, they want the Religion lesson to be the first or the last in the timetable, but also for the teachers to justify the students' grades from the written works, within 15 days from the communication, at the request of the child or parent. Last but not least, it is requested that middle school students spend no more than 5 hours a day in school, and high school students 6 hours and common entrances for them and teachers.

In some educational institutions there are sanctions in the internal order regulation, if students use the teachers' entrance. Sanctions that are clearly regulated illegally“, explained Bianca Ivan, the current president of the National Student Council. All these requests can be found in the project of the student's status submitted to the registry of the Ministry of Education.

Entrances to schools, an artificial problem

We start from a manifestation of pseudo hypocrisy on the part of both parties. It is clear that our society is a conservative one, one in which transformations and changes occur extremely hard and which hurt a lot. Our society has a colossal inertia, even more so the educational system. In terms of transactional analysis, what's happening here is a very relevant example of the transformation, the modification, of parent-child relationships to a more adult-adult type of relationship, as it stands now, with separate inputs and segregated, this is rather a form with a weak background, that is not where the students' respect for the teachers lies. At the same time, at the moment there is a need for discussions on this topic that nuance what Daniel David nuanced in the Psychology of the Romanian People, the notion of emancipation. There is clearly a societal goal of emancipation, of change, of transformation, of old customs into something else“, says the education expert Marian Staș regarding the students' request to have entrances to joint schools with the teachers.

Moreover, the specialist believes that the Romanian school has other problems.

I think the issues are different in a school, for example framework plans. People don't know or don't want to know what the real school sentence is about and then everyone looks at the effects instead of the causes. The school is going badly, due to a communist structural inadequacy of the framework plans and the curriculum model, which is outdated, it is built orthodox and syndicalist“, he specifies.

The expert's point of view is also supported by the president of the Federation of Romanian Parents, Iulian Cristache, who believes that an artificial scandal broke out on this topic, referring to the recent debate in the public space, provoked by a teacher who claimed that she was not agreed that schools should have common entrances for students and teachers.

“It is a form of usurpation of the teacher's image. First of all, we are different social categories”, said Claudia Osiceanu, Romanian teacher at the “Grigorie Ghica Voievod” Secondary School in Bucharest.

The abandonment of traditional practices such as separate entrances may reflect an ADAPTATION to the contemporary demands of a changing society. As a threat, some teachers may perceive change as a threat to their authority and adopt a negative attitude, affecting relationships with students. This is not what we want!“, claims Iulian Cristache.

In order for teachers to be respected, they must be very well trained, according to psychologist Keren Rosner.

To have a correct social behavior and in the relationship with the student and to be consistent in the decisions he makes, to provide quality education. The system should be different so that the consequences are much more respected“, it shows.

It's about respect and an equality that has been promoted a lot in Western countries, it's about the fact that some teachers are called by name, it's about the old school and the new school, the expert explains.

In the old school the teacher was an authority, the teacher was invested with authority by the student, he made unilateral decisions, he made the law. It is gradually moving to the new method in which the teacher is very friendly with the student and they have a relationship, whereas before it was not bad a relationship of friendship, except in exceptional cases when the teacher was also a mentor. It's a transition, and hence the clash between the old school, the new school and the claims of separate entrances. The student was part of a category that was led, controlled, that did not have the same rights as the teacher. Now students can protest, accuse, parents intervene a lot“, explained the psychologist.

“A lot of theory, not a lot of practice”

Education expert Mircea Bertea told Edupedu regarding the Student Status that, in fact, “we should also rethink the school and the classes a little. I believe that school should really be a learning space. In what sense? Today the Romanian school is a teaching space, and here and now, yes, we crowd the student if we teach for six hours, the child understands or not, that there is a lot to teach and you don't have time to provide effective feedback, you give him homework for the home. Then he goes home, works another two or three hours, and really has no time left for himself. Of course, they also need time to rest.” The expert stated that things could be resolved “if the ministry had the pedagogical intelligence to leave schools autonomy, to organize their timetable, teaching and learning as they see fit“.

“Children's job is to learn”

Mircea Bertea is of the opinion that in the end “children's job, their job is to learn, to go to school. Of course, there is something to be discussed here about what school should mean, because through the education plans some limits have been established regarding the maximum number of hours, which would go to 30-31 for gymnasium and up to 32-33 for high school, which generally means six hours a day, maximum. If we make a comparison with what happens in the West, it's a lot in terms of the number of hours distributed in the 8-14 hour interval, but otherwise, that is, for us, it's something normal. Abroad, in Europe in general, the schedule is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a lunch break“.

The draft normative act was drafted following consultations and debates that gathered in recent weeks over 1,100 students and their representatives from all the counties of the country, in a process coordinated by Save the Children Romania.

Student status 2.0

Representatives of the students from Romania, in collaboration with the Save the Children Organization, created a draft of the Student Statute which they submitted to the Ministry of Education. The document stipulates that students benefit from “time for rest”, and 7 consecutive weeks of classes to be followed by two weeks of vacation. They also demand the provision of wireless internet access in schools, to receive tablets or laptops, the right to their own clothing and the abolition of separate entrances for students and teachers in the buildings where educational units operate, considering that “there cannot be any kind of discrimination between the students and the staff of the educational institution“.

Also, the students ask that the writing activity not take place in the preparatory class and grades I-II in the first lesson; drawing classes, especially technical drawing, should take place during periods of time when students benefit from natural lighting; planned assessments cannot be set on two consecutive school days and no two assessments on the same day, and physical education classes are not conducted in the first hour of the afternoon shift.