We want a school like outside: Romanian education according to the Polish model

Ligia Deca, the Minister of Education, stated that the subjects for the high school will be much more ventilated, so that the students have time to understand and deepen their knowledge. The reform involves major changes, the official promises: fast-forward teaching will be abandoned, the emphasis will no longer be placed so much on stupidity, but on understanding, judgment and logical thinking. As is already being done in Poland, one of the European leaders in terms of PISA results

Clumsy subjects and busy schedules are disappearing from the school curriculum. Photo source: archive

Less material, less information-ballast, more time for deepening the basic skills, really useful for the Baccalaureate. And for life, because any high school graduate who does not want to continue his studies should be prepared in every way to become an active citizen. It is the recipe that, Minister Ligia Deca hopes, will throw a lifeline to Romanian education.

What does airing matter mean, concretely? “When I talked about airing out the children's program I did not mean a decrease in quality. On the contrary, I was referring to the fact that we tend to cram in a lot of material, without having the necessary time to fix it or to ensure that the minimum required for the basic skills that the Baccalaureate checks, or the National Assessment, if we are talking about secondary school , was reached“, explained the official during a meeting he had with the directors of schools in Mureș County.

Comparing with what is currently happening in our country, Poland will start an extensive process of curricular restructuring, which will last for 4 years and which consists in reducing the content of the subjects while keeping the same number of hours. Therefore, teachers will have more time to review certain information already taught, and students will have time to deepen knowledge and apply it in practical activities. “I think something similar would be useful for us too, if we're honest with ourselves“, stated Minister Deca.

The regulations thought up by the ministry do not stop there, however. There is a need for structural changes, which target the subjects in the common core of the four high school classes. “Perhaps not all children later go to college for mathematics, physics or chemistry. And then my idea would be to make sure that the common trunk allows for branching out based on the child's choice and what they want to do later in higher education. Or, in the case of technological or dual technological education, for the labor market. That is, it seems natural to me in the 11th and 12th grade to focus on a flexibility of framework plans that allows this individualization“, the minister also specified.

Reform success and shared responsibility

But, from wanting something to getting it is sometimes a long way. And that's because the framework plans, which should have been completed at the end of March, are still not ready, nor is it known when they will be. Therefore, the reform of high school education still has to wait. But, say officials from the Ministry of Education, they are working hard on it.

Iulian Cristache, the president of the Federation of Parents, explained to “Adevărul” that the authorities do not have much time at their disposal: “They have to hurry up with the school plan and curriculum because they have to get the new textbooks out. I hope they don't make the mistake of having revised frameworks and content but still having old textbooks. Tenders for textbooks are made one year in advance. There is not much time left. If we are not ready with them by September this year, the next school year, i.e. 2025-2026, will be compromised from this point of view”.

Iulian Cristache also stated that this reform has been requested and expected for a long time, but it will not work just on paper. The active involvement of teachers, students, and parents is needed.

Let's all pull the same bandwagon. It all depends on each teacher and each child. A changed schedule and some new content won't do wonders if teachers don't adapt the way they teach and assess. And even if the students don't want to learn. And let's not forget a very important aspect: there are many students who do not have the opportunity to learn. Many need support, and that's where the school has to step in. To act where the family is not able“, he also said.

Moreover, for this reform to work, the teacher should revise his way of teaching in the classroom in such a way that he understands all the students, believes Cristache: “He also has to take into account the last student in the class. And there they should come with extra interventions. To talk including with the student's family, to design for him a remedial plan. Because, unfortunately, 95% of teachers enter the classroom, teach the subject and leave. Who can keep up, well, who can't… bye! To meditations!”.