With schools all but shut down after a holiday-like school year, coalition…

Sursa foto: Ilona Andrei / G4Media

With schools all but shut down after a holiday-like school year, coalition party leaders Ciolacu and Ciuca are occupied with negotiation of cabinet positions in the government rotation. Teachers’ strike will be discussed on a Thursday

The general strike in education closes schools a month early this year, leaves millions of parents and children stranded, but the issue is not on the government’s agenda. After party meetings devoted exclusively to negotiations to share ministries in the government rotation, incumbent Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă and future Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu have come out in press conferences where they did not mention the teachers’ strike.

Marcel Ciolacu answered only after being asked on the subject that there might be a discussion with the unions on Thursday. And that’s it! Neither Ciucă nor Ciolacu ran to the government or to the coalition to see how to solve this problem. They are having tough discussions in the party about how to split up their ministries, who is giving away what position, who is filling up a certain post, and so on. The subject of the teachers’ strike has not even made it into the PNL and PSD meetings as a news item. No wonder they are completely disinterested in school issues: we have a prime minister accused of plagiarism and a future prime minister who has finished school late in this life.

There is a growing gap between what is happening in society, the real problems of the people and what concerns political leaders, those who govern and run the country. People don’t care who gets to stay in Ministry X, whether it is from the PSD or the PNL. Today’s problems are different and pressing.

It has already been hours since the unions announced that schools will be closed indefinitely on Monday due to strike action. It’s been hours since tens of thousands of children in eighth and twelfth grades have been ringing up with messages to each other and their parents, anxious that the National Assessment and the Baccalaureate could be postponed for who knows when. Hundreds of thousands of parents are wondering what they will do on Monday with the children in the lower grades who cannot be left alone at home, how they will reassure the older ones who have known for more than a year when the exams are scheduled, how much money they will have to take out of their pockets for extra tutoring.

At the Ministry of Education it is quiet: neither Minister Ligia Deca, nor even a secretary of state came out after the unions’ announcement with any message to the students, to the parents, to the unions, an invitation to the ministry now. „We are staying until tomorrow morning, until Monday morning if necessary, but we are finding solutions so that the children are not affected” would have been a message of reassurance and encouragement.

Caught up by journalists in the halls of the Senate, Ligia Deca said that „in the coming days” she would call representatives of the trade union federations for talks, after signing today the ministerial order on the composition of the collective bargaining team.

Meanwhile, the education laws are fast-tracking through Parliament. Coming out of the only project announced by President Klaus Iohannis during his two terms in office, ” Educated Romania „, these laws, which are crucial for the training of future generations, contain a host of measures criticized by specialists, civil society, parents’ associations and students’ organisations. We need only mention the admission exams organized by secondary schools over and above the national assessment exams, the reduction in the number of Baccalaureate exams but the inclusion of religion as an optional subject, the limitation of plagiarism, and the possibility that principals who have already been in office for almost ten years may remain for another ten.

Ironically, these will be put to a final vote in parliament on the very day the general education strike begins on May 22nd.

Schools will close after a school year with lots of holidays, lots of days off, stretches of 3-4 days off, whole weeks of so-called „different” or „green” activities. In fact, all kinds of organized and legalized shirking. In the first school year without any secondary school dissertations, no grade point averages by the end of the school year, no national assessment simulation in 7th grade (a very good exercise for kids entering 8th grade).

Instead of raising conscientious young people, trained in self-assessment and knowledge verification, taught to learn constantly in a world of continuous and rapid change, our children learn best from school to be lazy, slackers, to treat learning superficially.

Next, policymakers are preparing new measures to empty school of its essential content – less maths and no more physics, chemistry, biology and geography in the common core of all secondary school subjects.

Meanwhile, parents are pumping more and more money into tuition, and from ever smaller classes into the pockets of teachers who, for higher pay, cynically announce a general strike in the run-up to the children’s exams. No demands for reform or the elimination of anything harmful in the education laws.


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