The minister of national lies and the custom-ordered subjects for the Romanian…

The minister of national lies and the custom-ordered subjects for the Romanian Baccalaureate Exams

Everything to secure her power. She introduced a double exam for the 8th grade by law – the national evaluation and high school admission – as requested by the president who appointed her (Romanian President Klaus Iohannis). She indefinitely postponed the „threat” of disturbing teachers in an election year with the promised new high school curriculum and deferred all promises of institutional reorganization, ironically mandated by her own law, to future governments. Now, she is doing everything to get a winnable seat from PNL (National Liberal Party) in the parliamentary elections. Deca’s unprecedented actions include insidiously and indirectly asking the teachers who design the Baccalaureate exam questions to make this summer’s tests easier so that more students can pass with the minimum passing grade, according to sources from Edupedu.ro who are alarmed by the unprecedented interference of a minister in the Ministry of Education’s exam design process. Did her pressure succeed? Did it not?

The same students who failed to score the minimum passing grade (5 in the Romanian education system) at the Romanian language mock exam by 40% and whose overall simulation passing rates were hidden by the Ministry of Education, which only published discipline-specific percentages, achieved a historic jump in last week’s Baccalaureate exam: the highest pass rate in the past 14 years. Only 23.6% scored below 5.

These are the best Baccalaureate results in the last 14 years, considering that the students who took this exam had almost two years of online schooling.

Baccalaureate Pass Rates Over the Last 15 Years

An excellent result for Romanian schools, if it weren’t a carefully concocted lie by the Ministry, meant to keep the public from seeing the harsh reality. And to ensure people vote with the joy of extraordinary results during the liberal minister’s tenure.

The reality manipulation by faking the exam difficulty is even more deceitful since the questions were designed to yield fewer perfect scores. Only 39 high school graduates achieved a perfect score in Deca’s Baccalaureate (compared to 78 last year and 222 two years ago), which almost allows her to argue that she oversaw a tough exam. However, families, teachers expected to vote again in November, and universities are delighted this year: 76.4% of high school graduates passed the Baccalaureate after two years of online schooling. In 2011, the first year with video surveillance during the Baccalaureate, the pass rate was only 44.47%. It even dropped to 43.04% in 2012. However, from 2013, once the PSD (Social Democratic Party) took power, the results miraculously rebounded with a jump to 55.65% under the Ponta government (Victor Ponta, then Romanian Prime Minister).

What Minister Ligia Deca didn’t consider is that even external professors, brought in to check if rural students could pass the Ministry’s questions, couldn’t believe how permeable the Ministry is regarding exam topics: not only were they given access to classified information, but they were also paid for it, making it feel like a New Year’s Eve party for truant students transformed into diligent ones! According to Edupedu.ro sources, the pressure on teachers leading the exam question workgroups was unprecedented, as was the placement of full responsibility on them by the same minister who, last week when Edupedu.ro sent its first inquiries to the ministry, convened long meetings with subject heads, asking where they got rural teachers and what grades they issued, as if she hadn’t been part of the group that indirectly requested this through intermediaries.

And the paradox embodied by Minister Deca is immense: the same person who successfully secured Romania’s participation in the PIAAC testing (known as the „PISA for adults”) and repeatedly brought high-level OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) education expertise to Romania shows no sign of remorse for manipulating national exam items, as our sources claim happened.

An exam whose integrity is relied upon by other countries with which Romania has recognition agreements. The Romanian Baccalaureate is a passport to university anywhere in the European Union and the world, so the exam overseen by Ligia Deca must be on par with the French Baccalaureate, German exams, and those in the UK, for example. What transformations might Romanian students have undergone, post-pandemic and after a year marked by strikes, to achieve the best Baccalaureate results in 14 years?

Any politician who tampers with the Baccalaureate to secure a cozy parliamentary seat when their ministerial term ends, without having achieved any notable accomplishments in Romanian education history, discredits not only the institution they lead but also Romania’s international educational standing.

Her protector – President Klaus Iohannis – is at the end of his term, and the public sees how Deca clings to the curtains of power like a magician who cannot conceive of the strings of power being pulled by others. After so many investments! A master of behind-the-scenes ceremonies, she maintained a strong, unexpected connection with former Minister Sorin Cîmpeanu (former Romanian Minister of Education), whose team remains intact at the Ministry of Education’s controls, trying to give an appearance of legality to all the decisions made by the ruling cliques.

And Deca’s gifts to the PNL do not stop at transient exam questions. On August 31, 2024, the minister’s pen will appoint all county general and deputy school inspectors in Romania; these inspectors will, in turn, appoint over 1,700 school principals who haven’t secured their positions through national competitions.

These principal and inspector appointments are called “transfers in the interest of education” and represent the political weapon ministers use to politically control Romanian schools. What bad luck for Romanian education, under President Iohannis and his former advisor, that at the end of a presidential term, the promise to abolish inspectorates magically transforms into new appointments for the same inspectorates to serve the same parties. Would you like us to provide you with a good inspector, one of ours? Or a few gentle exam questions? What else do you need so that I can also get a sit in the Parliament?

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  1. Engleză de baltă.